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Highway Authority To Invest $33 Million In Electronic Toll Collection
Covers operation of six toll plazas plus maintenance and service for the first 3.5 years
By JOSE L. CARMONA
January 16, 2003
The Highway & Transportation Authority (HTA) will lay out an initial $33 million to install a new electronic toll system at six of the islands busiest toll plazas that will automate the collection process and eliminate the need for motorists to stop and pay tolls.
Similar to the Fast Pay or Express Toll systems already in place on many stateside expressways, the new system for Puerto Rico will allow vehicles equipped with a transponder device, usually placed on the windshield, to pay tolls without having to stop at the booths.
"The system is designed so drivers can travel through the toll plaza at 40 or 50 miles per hour. The drivers dont need to stop," HTA Executive Director Jack Allison told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.
The toll plazas will also be equipped with digital cameras that can photograph the license plates of those who fail to pay.
The new system, first announced in 2000 (CB, Oct. 26, 2000) will be implemented first at the Buchanan toll plaza and should be operational by early August, before the new school year begins, Allison said. The other five stations will be operational by December, he added.
"After Buchanan, the new system will be installed at toll stations in Toa Baja, Vega Alta, Caguas North and South, and on PR-20 in Guaynabo," said Allison. "Eventually, all island toll stations will have the system, but the HTA wanted to have it installed on the busiest ones first to alleviate traffic."
U.S.-based Transform Atlantic will be in charge of installing, operating, and maintaining the equipment at the initial six stations during the first three-and-half years. The cost of installing the equipment is $9 million. The three-and-a-half-year service contract adds another $24 million, for a total of $33 million.
"With the new system, motorists will have several ways to pay their toll charges, including credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards like phone calling cards," said Allison. The prepaid cards will be available at banking institutions, convenience stores, and gas stations, Allison indicated. The system notifies motorists when their prepaid card is running low on funds.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.