- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Turnpike officials say their inability to sufficiently punish toll violators helped contribute to more than $33 million in outstanding and uncollected tolls.

At locations where there are no people to accept tolls and there are no gates, many people choose to go through E-ZPass lanes and skip the toll. Workers at the Monroeville Interchange said they can have up to a hundred violators every day, and that includes only drivers in the afternoon rush hour.

There are 1.5 million violators across the state each year, KDKA-TV reported (https://cbsloc.al/20p3USl) Monday.

“When you talk about 1.5 million people and we only collect 70 percent of those, those are not good numbers,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Sean Logan said.

While other states can invalidate a vehicle’s registration, fine violators and even jail them, Logan said Pennsylvania violators are simply billed for a toll from the furthest point, plus a $25 processing fee. If the commission receives no response after the first or second notice, the case is then handed to a collections agency, which is not allowed to report non-payments to credit bureaus.

The turnpike wrote off $3.7 million in uncollected tolls at the end of the fiscal year in May.

Logan said the number of uncollected tolls will increase significantly if the turnpike continues to toll electronically without the ability to enforce the fees.

Rep. Jim Marshall, a Republican who is on the Transportation Committee, said the enforcement options Logan is asking for had been included in highway funding bill Act 89. He said it was stripped from the bill, though, before it was passed.

“I think there is a certain group of legislators who don’t want to have this into law,” he said.

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Information from: KDKA-TV, https://www.kdka.com

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