Pennsylvania Turnpike Makes Strides in Tackling Unpaid Tolls

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is making headway in tackling the problem of unpaid tolls, also known as “leakage,” as indicated by a recent report. Despite a rise in uncollected tolls to $180 million, the rate of increase has notably slowed down, marking progress in addressing this issue.

This improvement is credited to the implementation of enhanced collection tools by the state Legislature since January 2023. These tools empower the Turnpike to request the suspension of vehicle registrations for drivers owing $250 or more in unpaid tolls over five years, compared to the previous threshold of $500 over three years.

CEO Mark Compton acknowledges the crucial support from PennDOT and State Police Troop T in enforcing registration suspensions and citing drivers of vehicles with suspended registrations. This proactive approach has made a significant impact on collections, prompting many drivers to settle their debts at the lower threshold.

As a result of these efforts, around 68,000 vehicles currently face active registration suspensions, with approximately 3,000 citations issued this year alone for driving with a suspended registration. Moreover, vehicles with suspended registrations cannot be sold until tolls and penalties are paid.

Since 2018, the Turnpike has suspended 103,000 registrations and collected approximately $2.6 million from owners who settled their overdue tolls and penalties. However, challenges persist, especially in collecting from drivers using the Toll-By-Plate system, where nearly 45% of recipients do not pay their bills within 150 days.

Out-of-state drivers pose a significant collection challenge, accounting for 39.5% of those who fail to pay tolls. While efforts to establish reciprocal agreements with neighboring states are ongoing, collaboration between toll agencies has emerged as a strategy to target repeat offenders.

The Turnpike remains steadfast in its commitment to addressing the issue of unpaid tolls, ensuring fairness for law-abiding customers. With increased cooperation between agencies and robust enforcement measures, the Turnpike sends a clear message to toll evaders: unpaid tolls will not be borne by honest customers, and offenders will face consequences.

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