Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission tolls are set to rise next January for the tenth year in a row.
The commission on Tuesday approved a 6 percent increase, set to take effect on Jan. 7, 2018.
The most common toll for a Class-5 vehicle — a prevalent tractor-trailer class — will increase from $10.17 to 10.78 for E-ZPass and from $14.45 to $15.35 for cash.
The most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase next year from $1.23 to $1.30 for E-ZPass customers and from $1.95 to $2.10 for cash customers.
As they have said in previous years, Turnpike leaders described the hike as necessary to meet outside funding obligations imposed on the agency by state lawmakers, as well as the costs of maintaining and repairing the decades-old superhighway.
“The Turnpike Commission is obligated by state law to augment Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs; in fact, the commission has delivered $5.65 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in the last decade,” Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said.
“Today, our annual payments of $450 million enable PennDOT to provide operating support to mass-transit authorities across the state to help ease future fare increases for riders,” he added.
Those annual payments, which will will be cut to $50 million starting in 2023, are partly a legacy of aborted plans to toll Interstate 80 in the late 2000s, and partly a reflection of state lawmakers’ ongoing failure to fully fund transit and other PennDOT requirements through other revenue streams.
It comes as the commission is in the process of rebuilding the Turnpike, parts of which date back to 1940.
More than 124 miles of its system have been rebuilt, with another 20 miles of roadway now being rebuilt and widened and more than 90 miles currently in planning and design phases.
“This fiscal year, about 85 percent of the PTC’s $500 million capital budget is focused on renewing, rebuilding and expanding our toll highways which last year carried a record 200 million vehicles,” Compton story.
There are some exceptions to the increase:
• There will be no 2018 increase for E-ZPass or Toll-By-Plate customers at the Delaware River Bridge westbound cashless tolling point (#359) in Bucks County;
• toll rates at the Keyser Avenue (#122) and Clarks Summit (#131) toll plazas on the Northeastern Extension (I-476) in Lackawanna County will not increase until April 2018 as a part of the planned conversion to cashless tolling (rates will be set closer to the conversion date using a new vehicle-classification system); and
• toll rates at the Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576, Allegheny and Washington counties) will not increase until April 2018 as a part of the planned conversion to cashless tolling (rates will be set closer to the conversion date using a new vehicle-classification system).