PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says it has a 94% toll collection rate, but that other 6% of unpaid tolls adds up. The commission is hoping that a new law will help it recover more than $100 million in uncollected tolls.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Spokesperson Carl DeFebo said it’s difficult to estimate what percentage of unpaid tolls the commission will be able to recover, but a new law will allow it to take action more quickly.
Since 2017, the Turnpike Commission could suspend drivers’ registrations if they had $500 in unpaid tolls. That has been lowered to $250.
“It will definitely help us in that regard by going after them sooner rather than waiting until they have racked up more than they can pay for,” DeFebo said.
There are still some challenges. For example, the new law does not cover out-of-state drivers.
“The consequences just aren’t the same in all states, and we are trying to work through that. In some cases, these agreements may require some type of legislative approval from those other states,” DeFebo said.
The turnpike relies on tolls to run and maintain its more than 550 miles of toll roads across the commonwealth.
On top of harsher penalties, which include filing criminal charges against those who owe more than $2,000 in unpaid tolls, the turnpike is also giving customers more ways to pay. It recently added a cash payment network, which allows customers to pay toll invoices at 70,000 retail locations nationwide.
“Slowly but surely we are hoping to see an uptick in the overall payment,” DeFebo said.
The new law takes effect just after Christmas.