Penn Pike chooses HNTB to manage move to AET/cashless tolling
By Peter Samuel
2012-07-20: The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced today that HNTB had been selected after a competitive procurement to manage conversion of the Turnpike system to all-electronic tolling (AET.)
The Turnpike in a statement today said that AET "offers numerous advantages to motorists and the agency, including enhanced safety, a cleaner environment, improved customer convenience and operational efficiencies."
CEO Roger Nutt is quoted: "Because of these and other benefits, AET has emerged as much more than a trend in the tolling industry worldwide, and a number of American tolling agencies have gone cashless in recent years. But certainly, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the largest toll system in the U.S. to begin to implement such a system."
The announcement says full conversion will take five years.
HNTB as program manager will assist the Turnpike Commission, the statement says in:
- workforce consulting, outreach and engagement;
- financial analysis;
- public and legislative outreach;
- traffic and revenue studies;
- engineering analysis and design;
- environmental studies;
- development of video-tolling collection methods and systems;
- toll collection business rules
- customer-service center plans and requirements.
The recent meeting of the Turnpike Commission also approved a 10% increase in cash tolls and a 2% increase in electronic tolls to go into effect January 3, 2013. It is expected to produce a 3% revenue boost.
The electronic toll discount effectively goes from 17% to 25%.
Annual fees on commuter E-ZPass accounts will be lowered from $6 to $3.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first major statewide tollroad system in the automobile era and is one of the largest - 359 miles of east-west mainline and 186 miles of north-south extensions - now making 545 miles of toll expressway, the first long stretches opening as far back as 1940. Electronic tolling began December 2000.
Being mostly a ticket system tolling by trip it has mostly side plazas at interchanges and limited scope for open road tolling. ORT has been implemented at Warrendale June 2004 and Mid-County in October 2005.
In FY2011 the Penn Pike had revenues (almost entirely tolls) of $759m, operating costs of $360m, depreciation of $281m for an operating income of $117m. However it had interest expenses on borrowings of $333m and legislated payments to the state DOT under Act 44 of $450m. Net losses were $523m, which the state auditor general has said are putting the Commission on the road to certain bankruptcy.