Tolls for Thee

Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway

Tuesday, November 13th. The first automatic tolls collection station went into service this month in 1954. It was installed at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway. Motorists dropped coins into a wire mesh hopper, triggering a green light that told them to go ahead. The idea soon caught on at toll roads around the country, reducing the number of booth attendants and propelling cars and trucks on their way.

There are some 3,300 miles of toll roads in America’s interstate system of some 47,000 miles. Other U.S. routes and state roads have tolls, but the 5,500-mile total is still just a tiny fraction of the more than 4 million miles of roads in the nation. Toll collections add about $17 billion annually to state and local government revenues.

Profile America is in its 22nd year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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