PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — More than $100 million in unpaid turnpike tolls — that’s the headline that has caught the attention of lawmakers. They are now working on ways to reel in that uncollected cash.
A report from the state’s auditor general found that “the Pennsylvania Turnpike has more debt than the entire state government of Pennsylvania” and “innovative ideas and different solutions” are needed to fix the situation.
Enter: State Sen. Lisa Boscola, a Democrat from the Lehigh Valley, and her co-sponsorship memo to garnish both lottery proceeds and state tax refunds from anyone who has not paid their turnpike tolls. The idea is, if you win the lottery or the state owes you a tax refund, it will take its cut before you get your cash.
A separate proposal would hold up vehicle registrations from owners who owe tolls. Boscola insists the problem is acute and will only get worse if something isn’t done.
“If they don’t pay, then we have to pay more. The ones that are legitimately paying and paying their fair share, in the end, you’re going to pay more because of the scofflaws or the people out there that won’t pay and refuse to pay. If there’s no consequence, they won’t, so there has to be some kind of consequence,” said Boscola.
With only a handful of session days left, it is very unlikely any of these bills to crack down on unpaid tolls will be passed by the end of the year, but the issue is bipartisan, and a bill may have a chance to merge into the fast lane early next year when the new session begins.