Penn Pike chooses HNTB to manage move to AET/cashless tolling

July 20, 2012
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.

http://www.paturnpike.com/

TOLLROADSnews 2012-07-20

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