Over the last three years, Pennsylvania drivers have racked up $57 million in unpaid turnpike tolls.
Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia counties are home to the largest number of scofflaws, with 60,687, 44,080 and 32,307 drivers in each earning that dubious distinction, respectively.
Now, the turnpike commission is trying to recoup some of that money by going after 10,611 repeat offenders, those who have racked up $500 dollars or six separate unpaid tolls.
In late June, the commission sent letters to drivers warning them to pay up or their registration may be suspended after August 4. Chances are, they already know who they are, said spokeswoman Rosanne Placey.
“Those who are at the highest levels of unpaid tolls have likely had contact from us on 20 or more occasions,” she said. “They’re ignoring the collections and likely continuing to use the roadway and not paying for it.”
Until early August, anyone with outstanding turnpike violations can get partial amnesty — if they pay up, some fees will be waived.
After that, the commission can request that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation suspend or not renew their car registration, under Act 165, which passed last year. Getting it back means – you guessed it — more fees and fines.
The punishment is about enforcing equity — making sure people pay for what they use, according to Placey.
“The ability to recoup all or a portion of outstanding violations will assist us meeting our operating, capital and debt service obligations,” which include $450 million the commission pays PennDOT annually to fund transportation projects around the state.
The uncollected tolls targeted in this campaign amount to $17 million accrued over the last three years.