OTA planning to make improvements to toll collection system

Wednesday, July 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Transportation Authority plans to spend $34 million in improvements to the toll collection system, officials said Tuesday. The improvements for the system, which is more than a decade old, will include new coin collection terminals and bill changers. The new machines will be faster and more accurate and accept the new dollar coin, said David Machamer, the toll operations director. "They are upgraded with a coin wheel which takes money and processes it and tells if it is valid," Machamer said. "The mechanism is upgraded to count quicker and turn the light green quicker."

Pennsylvania-based Trans Core Inc. has signed a contract for the toll system improvements. The contract includes installation of toll collection equipment on the pike extensions on the Creek, Kilpatrick and H.E. Bailey turnpikes, Machamer said in a story from the Tulsa World's capitol bureau. The upgrade is expected to be completed within the next 24 months.

About $10.5 million of the $34 million will come from proceeds of bonds sold to finance the turnpike extensions. The rest will come out of the authority's general fund, Greg Bilby, a transportation authority spokesman, said. Among the upgrades to the current toll system is a software program that will allow PikePass customers to look at their accounts on the Internet and pay electronically, Machamer said. "It is going to be a state-of-the-art, upgraded piece of software," Machamer said.

The PikePass systems deducts tolls from a prepaid account when the device passes certain points on the toll road. Customers can mail in payments or call to have changes made to an account, he said. TransCore is evaluating the current system and others and is expected to make a recommendation to the turnpike authority, Machamer said.