follow us:Google+FacebookLinkedInTwitterVimeoRSS Feeds

advertisement

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approves 5 percent toll increase

By

Back to Top Comments Email Print

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today approved a 5 percent toll increase, to take effect Jan. 4, 2015.

With the increase, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle next year will climb to $1.09 from $1.04 for E-ZPass customers and to $1.70 from $1.60 for cash customers. The most common toll for a Class-5 vehicle — a prevalent tractor-trailer class — will increase to $9.05 from $8.62 for E-ZPass customers and to $12.80 from $12.15 for cash customers.

While the increase affects cash and E-ZPass rates similarly, E-ZPass customers will continue to save at least 35 percent on tolls.

“Yearly turnpike toll increases are necessary for the commission to satisfy the financial plan outlined under a transportation-funding law enacted seven years ago,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Under Act 44 of 2007, the PTC must make annual transportation-funding payments to PennDOT, while at the same time allocating funding to maintain and improve our own 550-plus mile system — parts of which turn 75 years old next year.”

The 2015 toll increase will be the seventh annual rate increase needed under Act 44 of 2007. It is the first time since 2011 that E-ZPass rates have gone up by the same percent as cash rates. E-ZPass tolls have increased by 7 percent since lower rates for E-ZPass were first introduced in 2011.

“It is important our customers understand that we continue to work hard to hold down costs as we ask motorists to pay more at the tollbooth,” Compton said. “In fact, we have kept discretionary operating-cost increases under 4 percent a year, and we have reduced our toll-collector complement with the rising popularity of E-ZPass.”

Compton explained that factors such as set employee pension costs and fluctuating winter maintenance expenses restrict deeper budget cuts but said that the PTC is committed to holding expenses to the minimum. He said the commission has almost 300 fewer collectors on staff since the implementation of E-ZPass; today, E-ZPass is used by 73 percent of all PA Turnpike customers.

“Over the last few years, the commission has taken several steps to increase efficiency and accountability and to provide a better transportation value,” Compton said. “We will continue to improve business practices and work to keep toll increases to a minimum.”

Since the PTC started making annual payments to PennDOT, it has provided $4.3 billion for roads, bridges and transit assistance statewide. Last year’s transportation funding law, Act 89, lessened the PTC’s funding requirement to PennDOT. The PTC’s annual payments remain at $450 million for eight more years, through June of 2022. But, starting in fiscal year 2023, those payments will drop to $50 million per year until the Act 44 agreement ends in 2057.

“While Act 89 does provide long-term financial relief, it does not eliminate our debt or funding obligation,” said Compton. “Therefore, the commission will need to continue to increase tolls annually for the foreseeable future.”

John Hilton

John Hilton

John Hilton covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at johnh@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JHilton32. Circle John Hilton on .

advertisement

Comments


scalewoodman said:
With Mr. Compton I absolute believe the Turnpike Commission is in good hands-- good pick Gov. Corbett!

My concern is the larger picture that is not part of the Turnpike-- the high cost of tolls is overloading roads such as PA Route 30, 230 and 41 (even Route 80) by forcing truck drivers and dispatchers to find alternate routes that are less expensive. Local communities are facing a serious safety, noise, and bridge/road surface maintenance issues and most importantly diminished quality of life because heavy traffic is forced to the low-cost route.

The irony is this: cost increases can be self-defeating as the loss of business does not always make up for the revenue gained. Pure economics. Seems to me if there were financial incentive to draw the traffic to the Turnpike, revenues would increase and local communities would benefit.

June 20, 2014 11:20 am

vince phillips said:
The Turnpike no doubt will be slammed for this toll increase and will suffer through loss of use as truckers and others use alternative routes. One should go back seven years ago to see why the Turnpike Commission will continue to increase rates indefinitely.

Sadly, the 2007 law requires that the Turnpike turn over its tolls for non-Turnpike transportation needs and as such cannot break even.

June 17, 2014 4:57 pm

grassrooter said:
when will the Pennsylvania patsies (taxpayers) stand up and demand the elimination of antiquated agencies like this...and demand a re-organization of our overlapping local governments all trying to tax and regulate us? Do we really love the hillbilly status quo that much??

June 17, 2014 4:23 pm



Please note: All comments will be reviewed and may take up to 24 hours to appear on the site.

Post Comment
     View Comment Policy
advertisement
  
  
advertisement
  
  
advertisement
Back to Top