Guzman pushes to restore turnpike jobs and ensure proper toll collection

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – State Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, is planning to introduce legislation that would bring back in-person tollbooth jobs on the Pennsylvania Turnpike during peak hours to prevent motorists without an E-ZPass from riding toll free, which happened for about half of those motorists in 2020.

“We lost more than $104 million in turnpike tolls last year due to a flawed, all-electronic tolling system. That is unacceptable,” Guzman said. “The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission laid off nearly 500 tollbooth workers and prematurely converted to an all-electronic system, resulting in this catastrophic loss. The commission needs to be held accountable.”

Guzman is proposing a hybrid system that would bring back tollbooth workers during the road’s busiest hours so that the electronic system can be improved without incurring further revenue losses.

“The benefits of a functioning all-electronic system are undeniable,” he said. “However, last year’s blunder demonstrated that the commission needs more time to develop a working system.”

About 11 million trips without tolls occurred on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2020, according to an internal turnpike report obtained by the Associated Press.

After eliminating in-person toll collection last year, a 45% rate increase was implemented for non-E-ZPass drivers. E-ZPass tolls accounted for over $1 billion of the PTC’s $1.3 billion total tolls collected in 2020.