With all-electronic toll collection, would Pa. Turnpike be taking a wrong turn?

    Yesterday’s report from WHYY’s Kevin McCorry about toll collection going completely digital on the Pennsylvania Turnpike might raise some eyebrows. What do you think about the proposed changes?

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is considering the elimination of tollbooths in favor of an all-electronic E-ZPass system, as reported by WHYY’s Kevin McCorry yesterday.

    All 70 turnpike interchanges would be torn down, and E-ZPass users moving at highway speeds would be automatically recognized by sensors and charged accordingly.

    What do you think about theplan? Tell us below.

    The proposed changes — which would not be implemented until 2017, at the earliest — are raising some eyebroews among NewsWorks readers.

    Drivers who don’t use E-ZPass would be invoiced for the toll later on, after their license plates have been videotaped at the toll boundary. As well, the non-E-ZPass customer would pay for the review-and-billing process in the form of an additional toll surcharge. It’s unclear how much that would amount to when all is said and done.

    Proponents say the change favors convenience, reduces accidents, and helps cut the environmental impact of vehicles idling at toll booths.

    Objections among NewsWorks readers include being forced to use an E-ZPass sensor and being charged extra for going without. Currently, E-ZPass drivers already get a discount on tolls over those who pay cash.

    Other readers cite the benefits of an all-electronic system. And, they note, there are alternatives to the turnpike.

    The transition would be costly, but officials say it will save money in the long run. One of the main reasons for this, of course, might have something to do with the elimination of 730 toll collectors’ jobs.

    Do you think the Turnpike Commission is on the right track with this plan?

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