PA Turnpike Considers Going All-Electronic

Sep 4, 2012

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is taking steps to make all of its interchanges collect tolls electronically. But how that will affect its human work force is yet be seen.

Turnpike Spokesman Carl DeFebo said since the Turnpike began using E-Z Pass, it has shed 150 toll collectors through attrition, but roughly 800 toll collectors still work throughout the state. "There are probably close to 1,000 people that are engaged in other parts of that toll collection process, whether they be managers overseeing collection at the interchange, whether they be audit people, whether they be the people who pick up the money from the interchanges."

DeFebo said the Turnpike is also looking at what other toll roads have done after they’ have gone the all-E-Z Pass route. "Some of the other states and agencies that have implemented these electronic systems have done things like providing job assistance and retraining and other types of transitional assistance for the toll collection employees."

The Turnpike still is in the early stages of converting to electronic tolling for the sake of traffic efficiency and cost-cutting, and has not yet finalized an implementation plan.  The Turnpike Commission is more than $7 billion in debt, due to a state law requiring it to pay millions of dollars annually to support road and bridge maintenance, and transit operations.

The Turnpike has issued an all-electronic tolling feasibility study.