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Toll-collection contract awarded for Triangle Expressway

Posted May 4, 2010

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— The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has awarded a contract for electronic toll collection on the 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway, which will be North Carolina's first toll road.

TransCore, a subsidiary of Roper Industries, won a $5.9 million contract to install, implement and maintain an automated, radio-frequency-identification system for toll collection.

"We are proud that North Carolina will have one of the most technologically advanced toll operations in the nation," Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said in a statement. "The implementation of this wireless system will provide motorists with seamless travel by allowing them to pay tolls at highway speeds."

TransCore's bid was $1.5 million below estimates, and its technology will be used for other toll facilities in the state, transportation officials said.

Transponders will be the preferred method of payment for the cashless toll system, but drivers will also be able to be billed.

Sensors at toll stations will record when vehicles with transponders pass by, and tolls will be deducted from prepaid accounts. If a vehicle does not have a transponder, cameras will take a picture of its license plate, and a bill will be sent to the registered owner.

The price of the tolls has yet to be determined, but designers estimate it could be about 10 cents to 20 cents per mile.

Earlier, Affiliated Computer Services won a $14.2 million contract to develop toll-related hardware and software, including optical character recognition software and the main computer server and database, and a $8 million contract to produce a customer-relations Web site and to design a system to process customer accounts and handle billing. URS Corp. won a $15.3 million contract to manage and staff all customer service facilities and related activities.

The Triangle Expressway will run from existing N.C. Highway 540 in western Wake County south of Interstate 40 to the N.C. Highway 55 Bypass in Holly Springs. It is expected to open in 2012.

The first section – N.C. 540 between N.C. Highway 54 in Morrisville and N.C. 55 near Research Triangle Park – opened two years ago, and drivers have been using it toll-free since then.

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  • alwayslovingu30 May 5, 2010

    hey never surrender check out photoplate.com they may be able to help.I have 5 People from 3 different states working on A Photo Proof Plate its not rocket science they tell me its easy we will seee.I will avoid all toll roads.If its A purchase thing I will ship it or pay someone who is already going thru there its morally wrong the state has to much money now.education will never get its fair shake with politicians in our offices.we pay over 20 cents per gallon tax on gas so why are the roads falling apart they are taking hiway money an funneling it to other accounts truth

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 5, 2010

    What they aren't saying is that they will use the system to issue speeding tickets. The system will have all of the information necessary to calculate speeding tickets based on how quick you reach each toll plaza.

  • NeverSurrender May 5, 2010

    "not the least of which is people like myself who will not get EZPass"

    That's certainly your choice. The 407 ETR near Toronto adds a $3.60CDN video toll fee for cars without transponders and a $50CDN fee if you try to defeat the plate cameras.

    "...then there are the ever increasing and different administrative fees...which fee does a pass holder pay"

    For the transponder, it depends on where you get it. EZ-Pass doesn't seem to care where you get it so pick the cheapest alternative you can find if NC's fees are too high.

    "How about those out of country users? Are you going to assume that everyone with an Ontario plate has a $200.00 a month Hwy 427 EZpass? How about the folks from the other 9 provinces?"

    The annual lease for a 407 transponder is $21.50CDN but there is no agreement for it to be part of the larger EZPass system.

    However, you're still obligated to follow the law of the land and pay lawful tolls whether you're an American on the 407 or a Canadian in the US.

  • affirmativediversity May 5, 2010

    NeverSurrender,

    There's a couple of flies in your electronic ointment...not the least of which is people like myself who will not get EZPass...then there are the ever increasing and different administrative fees...which fee does a pass holder pay...the North Carolina one or the Maryland $1.50 per month or the New York minimum use or lose one?

    How about those out of country users? Are you going to assume that everyone with an Ontario plate has a $200.00 a month Hwy 427 EZpass? How about the folks from the other 9 provinces?

    There are a lot of problems with the all electronic transponder system...not the least of which is DUE PROCESS.

  • NeverSurrender May 5, 2010

    "Nor did you really address WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU JUST DON"T PAY THE BILL? If you don't pay the bill and the Company or State takes some punitive action against you...then are you not into...both DUE PROCESS and FINES LEVIED (all funds go to education) territory?"

    ---

    The bill is really no different than if you paid the turnpike worker in the booth.

    As long as the tolls are lawfully levied (and even though it sucks for people in the southern half of the county getting tolls when the northern folks didn't, it's actually lawful how they're doing it), then you're obligated to pay if you use the road and the state has all of the remedies available at law if you don't. That's all DUE PROCESS requires.

    The bright side of this (if you can imagine one) is that going cash-less eliminates a whole bunch of potential abuses and expensive state workers to man the booths.

    And you have complete choice over using the road. In Orlando, you can go fast (tolls) or cheap (no tolls). It's up to you!

  • NeverSurrender May 5, 2010

    "Also, you didn't address the question of out of state or out of country drivers?"

    At least they're thinking of an interoperable system to work with pretty much anyone's transponders so anyone with an EZPass/SunPass/whatever will be billed through the system.

    Also, given the technology we have available today, it'd be relatively trivial for the states to set up a toll clearinghouse where a NC driver using EZPass driving on the NJ Turnpike could be assessed the correct toll and NJ paid even with the driver being billed in NC.

    The real fly in the ointment is not technology, it's political. NJ may not be all that keen to give up control over billing for it's many toll roads and trust they'll be reimbursed by the toll clearinghouse.

  • NeverSurrender May 5, 2010

    "NeverSurrender, The last time I checked NCDMV did not outsource its information databanks...to the contrary they were very strict about who within and which other State agencies had access."

    I didn't say that...I just pointed out that the tags office (private contractor) already has that access to the DMV database.

    And lest we forget, that would be the same DMV who was awfully keen on selling your personally identifiable data to marketing firms on an OPT-OUT basis until they were explicitly forced to stop by the General Assembly.

    "Also, whose to say it is "me" driving my car...therefore, if I am not in my car to see all that "signage" I can argue I am not responsible for the bill."

    Good luck with that...the red-light cameras force you to get someone to assume responsibility for the fine if you weren't driving and the courts have yet to strike that practice down.

    I have yet to meet anyone who successfully argued their way out of that photo-ticket.

  • wildervb May 5, 2010

    affirmativediversity,

    We're realy on the same side on this debate, if you find it easier to get the change together before a trip more power to you. I find the EZpass more convienant, it my choice, not forced.

    I agree with you 100% on the license plate issue. I don't like the idea of it being scanned and getting a surprise bill. I'd be shocked if this actually works. How are they going to get out of state billing info, will all states share that information, if they do what enforcement procedures will they use to get them to pay? Every place that I've seen tolls still needs maned toll booths for those who don't use the RF device.

  • affirmativediversity May 5, 2010

    The big advantage of the EZPass is that I can fly through a toll instead of waiting 15 minutes on line to pay, like the people who didn't plan ahead. I guess you're one of those people waiting on line. per wildervb

    ------------------

    Never had to wait in line yet. I do go to the "exact change" booth and except for the momentary slowing down to toss the money in the bucket I'm done....without registering with a government/private billing entity...nor do I have to worry about paying when the bill comes or getting questions answered if I'm billed incorrectly or surprisingly too much.

    I don't necessarily believe we are on opposite sides of this debate BUT I'm just not as easy (for lack of a better term) in giving my information to a government entity using the "honor system".
    Also, I have a big problem with the "picture of your plate" no if and or buts "your plate, your bill" system...I insist on a more personal level of service for my money.

  • wildervb May 5, 2010

    affirmativediversity,

    When I travel north on toll roads I have no choice but to pay the toll, paying with the EZPass doesn't cost me extra. It makes no difference to me if the roads have been payed for a million times over, I have no choice but to pay the toll. I guess I'm a sheep in that sense in that I still use the roads, I supposed I could take side roads instead of highways.

    The big advantage of the EZPass is that I can fly through a toll instead of waiting 15 minutes on line to pay, like the people who didn't plan ahead. I guess you're one of those people waiting on line.

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