The financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic reared its head this week as the PA Turnpike Commission announced it would lay off about 500 toll workers, accelerating the switch to cash-free tolling.
The commission had planned to implement the cash-free system in two years, but temporarily stopped accepting cash in March as the coronavirus forced a significant portion of the country to shelter in place, and toll workers were sent home. The toll road collected money using E-ZPass or its toll-by-plate system, which generated invoices that are mailed to vehicle owners.
The Turnpike accelerated the permanent switch as it took a considerable financial hit when tolling revenue dropped due to decreased traffic volume.
We wish the employees well and hope the commission is able to help them make as smooth a transition as possible.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- The Turnpike Commission accelerated the transition to cash-free tolling, laying off about 500 employees as tolling revenue fell.
- PennDOT resumed driver skills tests this week, which had been suspended in March due to the coronavirus.
- PennDOT drivers’ license and photo centers are reopening in counties as they move into “yellow alert” status.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation is channeling nearly $100 million to the Allegheny Port Authority to help fund its Bus Rapid Transit Project, which will connect the Downtown and Oakland.
- A coalition of government transportation agencies from states including Pennsylvania are launching a truck-parking survey for the Northeast U.S. to gain insight that will help address the current shortage of parking facilities.
- In passenger rail news, Amtrak this week resumed rail service on lines between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York.