All electronic tolling? It's a great idea
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's planned move by 2018 to all-electronic tolling is a step worth taking. But it's the sort of half-measure “reform” that utterly ignores the need to rid Pennsylvania of this scandal-plagued, corruption-fostering and unnecessary agency.
All-electronic tolling will mean little change for E-ZPass users. License plates of motorists without E-ZPass transponders will be photographed so they can be billed for higher tolls, similar to today's higher cash tolls. The commission expects smoother, quicker, safer traffic flow and cost efficiencies from eliminating toll plazas and collectors, the Pennsylvania Independent reports.
But even if all aspects of all-electronic tolling go as planned, Pennsylvanians still will be stuck with an agency — whose role PennDOT could and should take over — that consistently paves the way for abuse of the public trust.
Think of the long-standing political-patronage practice of turnpike jobs going to friends and relatives of the well-connected. Think “pay-for-play” turnpike schemes such as the one alleged this spring that led to criminal charges against former turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier and two other former top commission officials, former state Senate Democrat leader Bob Mellow (already imprisoned for campaign corruption), two turnpike vendors and others.
All-electronic tolling's fine — but in the context of the turnpike's legacy of corruption, it's at best a diversion from the real, fundamental issue of doing away with the commission.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- A chilly reception
- Saving RadioShack: Innovation vs. focus
- The Scottish vote: Defeat as victory
- The medical device tax: An abject failure
- The Box
- A hot calendar?: Chill, everybody
- Those revised gun forms: A full explantion is owed