All-electronic tolls planned for Pa. Turnpike
Updated On: Nov 14 2012 04:39:24 AM CST
Paying cash at tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike could soon be a thing of the past. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is eyeing all-electronic tolls.
For years, turnpike drivers have had two options for paying tolls -- cash or E-ZPass. About 68 percent of state drivers prefer E-ZPass, turnpike officials said, but some drivers, like Patricia Peck, prefer the old-fashioned option.
"We pay cash," said Peck.
Cash-payers may soon have no choice. Since 2011, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has been developing a plan to convert the turnpike into all-electronic tolls.
"It was determined that this is something that is feasible," said Carl DeFebo, Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman.
At a joint House and Senate Transportation Committee hearing in Harrisburg on Tuesday, officials said their goal is to make this switch over the next five years.
In going electronic, overhead "gantries" would straddle all travel lanes. DeFebo said that would be the biggest change in the turnpike operations since it opened in 1940.
If you do not have E-ZPass when you go through the tolls, DeFebo said drivers' license plates would be photographed. The state would then mail a bill to their home.
"It would save time. It really would because you have to stop, get change back that you need, and it would be quicker. I'm sure it would," said Peck.
The price of speeding up the toll lines, however, comes at a cost to employees who work in toll plazas. Hundreds of jobs would be in jeopardy.
Local 77 Teamsters, one of the unions representing state turnpike employees, declined to comment on the plans.
Turnpike travelers had no problem voicing their opinions.
"I don't think the government should do anything like that. I think it should be left up to the individual. Let them decide what they want to do," said Bill GunDrum.
"It wouldn't be a big deal for us," said Susan Tetzlaff.
Copyright 2012 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Official: Elementary school lock down lifted; suspect in custody
Police: Allentown woman stabbed her grandfather to death
Authorities respond to massive explosion in East Harlem
New research points to Alzheimer's early detection blood test
Authorities respond to East Harlem blast
Drastic change later today as cold front heads our way
Spring preview won't last long with return of colder air
Mystery Malaysia flight apparently off course
Coroner called to scene of pedestrian accident
Thieves target churches; parishioners pray for justice