Toll runners: How nice to hear that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to go after drivers who owe more than $17 million in unpaid tolls, violations and related fees. That includes $3 million owed by motorists in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone. The debt shouldn't have reached this amount before something was done. Stronger enforcement “tools” (i.e., Act 165) should have been instituted years ago to stem the abuse. Simply allowing this massive sum to accrue reflects poorly on the same turnpike agency that projects annual toll increases until 2044.
Texting temerity: It's a sad commentary when government, at any level, has to legislate common sense — then ramps up the penalties when people disregard the law. We refer to imbeciles easily spotted on the drive to and from work texting on their cellphones. The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing is reviewing changes that would increase the penalty for texting while driving, which might include state prison time. Will that be enough to deter distracted drivers?
Cleaning up: In its ongoing push to target and eliminate blight, Jeannette has cited 11 properties for violations in a two-block area. Clearly city fathers are serious about getting property owners to clean up their messes — or getting those properties condemned. All of which is a worthwhile endeavor, although one sadly foisted on local governments because of property owners' disregard. It will be interesting to see in a year's time what Jeannette's crackdown accomplishes, along with a cost/benefit analysis.