Eric Frein in Custody

Commuters Face Higher Turnpike Tolls

BLAKESLEE — That Sunday drive and all the other ones just got a bit more expensive if you are traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

On Sunday, cash tolls went up 10 percent, and E-ZPass tolls went up 2 percent.

The hike is leaving a sour taste with customers like Eva Eeckman at the Chat and Chew in Blakeslee, a few miles west of the Pocono toll plaza.

“It’s terrible. It’s gone up every year, it is getting ridiculous,” said Eeckman. “We have to use it, but it’s becoming prohibitive for some people.”

“We’re trying to make an honest living around here and we have to commute to go to work to pay our bills, and unfortunately they hiked it up again,” said Christine Manzo of Jim Thorpe.

Commuters who pay cash would pay 25 cents more each way to get from the Poconos to the Wyoming Valley.

That brings the toll to $2.30.

Some Monroe County commuters who use the Turnpike to get to Wilkes-Barre and other points north are considering taking Route 115 instead.

Dave Cunningham makes the drive every day from Pocono Lake to Pittston.

“I use the E-ZPass and so it is kind of convenient, still it’s not worth it paying the extra to go the PA turnpike,” said Cunningham.

But the alternate route means dealing with traffic signals and one-lane roads.

“It’s a little more of a hassle, but it might be worthwhile, says Cunningham.”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission states that the higher tolls are necessary to make up for a transportation funding shortfall, and that the money will help with road and bridge projects away from the Turnpike across the state.

Carol Matthews of Albrightsville sums it up saying,”It’s unfortunate, but I guess with the way the economy is, it’s a must.”

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