HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A September audit from the Pennsylvania Department of Auditor General found that the number of uncollected tolls in 2021 rose to $155 million. It comes after the turnpike began using a cashless system last fall, laying off hundreds of tollbooth workers as a result.
The audit said that of the 200 million drivers who traveled on the turnpike last year, 14 million — roughly six to eight-percent — did not pay any tolls.
Because of this, State Senator Marty Flynn is pushing forward a bill that aims to collect unpaid tolls. The legislation would require anyone registering a vehicle in Pennsylvania to have paid all of their turnpike fees. The bill does not apply to those who live out-of-state.
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“It is a lot of people traveling from other states who just drive through and think ‘Hey, I’m not going back there for a while, I don’t have to worry about that, so I’m not going to pay,'” Flynn said.
Flynn acknowledged that skipping toll payments is not always intentional, but said it’s having an impact on taxpayers.
“Just continually losing over $100 million a year is not acceptable. The math doesn’t add up, no matter what percent you collect. That’s not fair to the taxpayers — we have rates going up every year until 2050,” Flynn told ABC27.
Flynn is also introducing a bill that would give Pennsylvanians the option of paying tolls over apps like Venmo, Zelle, or Paypal.
The bills are set to head to the Senate for a vote.
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ABC27 reached out to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission who sent this statement:
“The PA Turnpike welcomes the General Assembly’s consideration and guidance on how we can better serve customers and continue to operate transparently. We thank PA House and Senate transportation leaders for their collaboration during the creation of this legislation, and we look forward to working together to implement measures outlined in the bill. We do all we can to collect what’s owed; this bill would help us begin collection efforts sooner rather than later.”Carl DeFebo
Dir. of Communications & Customer Experience