May. 24, 2022
HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) to better protect consumers who travel the Pennsylvania Turnpike was unanimously approved by the state House on Tuesday. The measure now goes the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 2139
would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) to notify an E-ZPass account holder the first time the person incurs a v-toll in a calendar year. V-tolls are assessed when a driver’s E-ZPass transponder is not detected as their vehicle enters or exits the turnpike or travels through a toll plaza. In 2021, more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians were charged v-tolls.
“It’s simply a matter of good customer service to inform E-ZPass holders when a malfunction occurs and a v-toll assessed,” Warner said. “The vast majority of drivers who are charged these tolls are completely unaware of it. This bill helps protect those consumers from being unfairly penalized.”
Under the bill, the notice would include information about proper placement of the E-ZPass transponder, replacement of the device and notification that failure to correct the issue with the device may result in additional v-tolls and administrative fees. The commission would also have to establish a process to appeal v-tolls.
In addition to addressing the v-toll issue, the bill also makes several other changes to improve toll collection and increase penalties against drivers who either don’t pay or evade tolls.
The bill would decrease the threshold at which penalties can be assessed against drivers who don’t pay. A driver’s vehicle registration could be suspended after four unpaid tolls, rather than the current six, and after $250 in unpaid tolls instead of the current $500. The statute of limitations to collect an unpaid toll is increased from three to five years after the violation was committed.
With regard to existing criminal penalties for fare evasion, the bill would make technical updates to reflect the move toward cashless tolling and clarify what constitutes affirmative action by a driver to evade paying turnpike tolls.
The bill also would require the PTC to conduct a feasibility study to review third-party processing and transaction accounts for toll collection, such as Apple Pay and Venmo, as well as electronic push notifications to E-ZPass holders within 24 hours of a transaction.
Finally, the PTC would be required to produce an annual report to the General Assembly summarizing collected and uncollected toll revenues for the previous fiscal year, projected collected and uncollected toll revenues for the previous fiscal year, and reasons for uncollected toll revenues.
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler