State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Turnpike commission plans toll modernization

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 23, 2016 6:52 PM

The state's first no-cash toll was opened to drivers in January. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Leaders of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are preparing for another year of managing the state's 75-year-old highway system. Discussions of future plans hinge largely on tolls and collection methods.

In an address at the annual state transportation briefing, Commission CEO Mark Compton told the crowd that the plans currently being made for toll roads all lead up to 2022.

That's when the commission's funding obligations to PennDOT change, reducing annual payments by 400 million dollars.

In the meantime, Compton said the agency is tracking project expenses very carefully.

"It is not financially, fiscally responsible, it's not morally responsible, to stop a construction project in the middle of a project," he said.

Compton added that some of biggest future projects involve tolls--and not just the six percent toll increase that is starting in January.

He said the commission is working to put in more cashless tolling booths, where drivers either use an E-ZPass, or get the bill delivered later.

According to Compton, the no-cash tolls actually make roads safer.

"At a lot of our interchanges, we have 80 percent of our traffic using E-ZPass, 20 percent that still has to stop," he said. "So there's a real weave that happens at all of our interchanges... [And] when you have that weave effect, accidents are occurring every day."

The state's first no-cash toll opened in January.

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