Editorial: Tolls continue rising and rising

Here’s good news for motorists who like to drive on state toll roads but don’t want a Pike Pass or don’t want to stop and pay the toll.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) has installed a new system in Creek Turnpike at the Peoria Interchange in Jenks that will let drivers without a Pike Pass to drive straight through without paying a toll.

Here’s how it works. Cameras will take photos of the cars without Pike Passes that don’t stop to pay and the OTA will mail an invoice to those motorists. Of course, there will be an added fee for not stopping and dropping some coins in the basket.

“OTA’s PlatePay system at the Peoria/Elm interchange will improve safety by reducing traffic congestion and allow for non-stop travel in place of toll plazas,” said Tim Gatz, OTA executive director.

At that interchange, Pike Pass holders will pay 75 cents at those exits while PlatePay drivers will be sent a bill for $1.60.

And guess what? Beginning in February, everybody – Pike Pass holders, cash customers and PlatePay drivers – will all be paying more to drive on every toll road in Oklahoma. That’s because the OTA is going to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars. The OTA can do whatever it wants.

This ensures that Oklahoma will never pay off the toll roads and make them free roads. If they did that, the OTA would be out of business and that wouldn’t set well with its bond holders.