Thursday Open Line

The first automatic toll collection station went into service on this date 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 the U.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 $13 billion annually to state and local government revenues. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.