Pennsylvania annual toll increase goes into effect on Jan. 6

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 1/3/2019

Motorists who drive on the Pennsylvania turnpike have one thing to not look forward to in the new year: the annual toll rate increase. This year, the 6 percent increase will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6.

Approved last July by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the 6 percent increase in toll rates will affect cash, E-ZPass and Toll-by-Plate customers. This marks the 11th consecutive toll increase for the turnpike.

To run the length of the turnpike from the Ohio connection to the Delaware River Bridge, a Class 7 (62,001 to 80,000 pounds) five-axle truck with an E-ZPass account will pay $215.90, an increase of $12.31. For cash customers, the rate will be $300.80, which is $17.10 more than last year.

The turnpike commission mentions that the most common toll for a Class 5 tractor-trailer will increase from $3.45 to $3.66 for E-ZPass customers and from $15.35 to $16.30 for cash customers. Regarding the large difference between E-ZPass and cash customers, the commission notes that Class 5 E-ZPass customers typically take shorter trips than Class 5 truckers who pay cash or through the toll-by-plate system.

The rate increase applies to all turnpike sections and extensions, including the westbound Delaware River Bridge cashless tolling point. Rates have not increased at that gantry since January 2016.

Click here to calculate the rate of a specific route with specific vehicles specs.

According to a news release, the toll increase is required to meet the PA Turnpike’s legislatively mandated funding obligation to support the Commonwealth’s public-transportation systems as well as to maintain and improve the 552-mile Turnpike.

Last year, the turnpike commission raised tolls by 6 percent as well. However, the Delaware River Bridge was exempt and toll increases at three locations were delayed as they moved to cashless tolling.

A 2007 law, Act 44, required PTC to pitch in $450 million annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for mass transit and other PennDOT projects. Money from PTC to PennDOT does not have to be used for turnpike-related projects.

In 2013, Act 89 decreased PTC’s obligation to $50 million a year starting in 2023. Annual toll increases ranging from 3 percent to 6 percent are necessary to keep up with debts and obligations, PTC Chairman Sean Logan said in statement last year. Increases will continue through 2044, and payments totaling $5 billion will be made through 2057.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association have filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission regarding the tolls. In a lawsuit filed on March 15, 2018, OOIDA challenged the constitutionality of the imposition of excessive tolls by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. OOIDA claims that tolls, or “user fees,” become an undue burden on commerce once the amount is greater than a fair approximation of the value of the use of the toll road.

 

 

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