According to a report in the Associated Press, the amount of yearly uncollected tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike grew by nearly 50 percent last year.

 A new government audit is urging the Turnpike Commission to address the problem and make changes to improve its finances.

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According to the AP report, the information follows up on an internal study that said more than $104 million in tolls from the Pa. Turnpike were left on the table in 2021. The AP says an update in May found that number had grown to $155 million.

The report indicates the losses had been anticipated after the turnpike converted to all-cash collections in 2020, laying off hundreds of toll collectors and auditors.

Getty Images Staff/Getty Images
Getty Images Staff/Getty Images

Many vehicles have E-ZPass that is supposed to record vehicle information and collect the toll information, billing drivers. Although turnpike cameras read license plates of vehicles without E-ZPass and send bills to their owners, there are problems with obscured or faded plates, camera system failures and getting money from scofflaw drivers.

The Associate Press cites turnpike officials as saying increasing traffic and higher tolls are driving the increase.

In a written response, turnpike chief executive Mark Compton said his agency was “actively engaged with the Legislature, the PA State Police and surrounding toll agencies to ensure we are taking all possible measures to collect.”

The auditor general's office said this week the turnpike board should rein in or end free rides on the 565-mile toll road system for its own employees and contractors, even when they are off duty.

The financial watchdog agency's study turned up $3.2 million in free travel for turnpike employees over a three-year period ending in May 2021. The cost of free trips for turnpike contractors and consultants went from $5.9 million over 2015-18 to $8.4 million in 2018-21, the audit said.

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