Taking its toll
One summer when I was in college, I interned in the district office of state Rep. Jess Stairs (R-Acme). I quickly learned that jobs as toll collectors on the Pennsylvania Turnpike were in great demand--people regularly came into the office to ask if Stairs could use his influence to get them a job with the Turnpike Commission.
Well, now I understand why. According to the Trib, toll collectors are paid $18.50 an hour. If the Trib's math is correct, that's $38,000 a year. (Sixty grand with overtime, the Trib says.) And union officials are angry that the commission--like most private employers--is expecting the collectors to pay a greater share of their health insurance. My heart bleeds.
Tolls on the turnpike recently increased 42 percent. Keep that in mind the next time you hand over your quarters to a toll collector. If he or she has a smile on their face, you'll know why.