Turnpike Tolls Going Up Again

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced a six-percent toll hike for next year.

According to the commission, the increase along most stretches of the turnpike takes effect on January 7, 2018.

The most common toll will increase from $1.23 to $1.30 for E-ZPass users and from $1.95 to $2.10 for cash customers.

Rates are also going up for larger, commercial vehicles.

There have been several increases on the turnpike since 2009, and the state auditor general warns it may soon be too expensive for most people to take the toll road.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says unless something changes, those rate hikes will continue on the turnpike. He wants state lawmakers to figure out a fix.

"I think it's awful. I drive from Bucks County in eastern Pennsylvania all the way to Pittsburgh. I have two kids in college and it's going to be hard," said Ellen Stout of Bucks County. "Some people won't be able to afford it. They'll have to take back roads. It's going to take them a whole lot longer."

DePasquale is demanding change. He says the turnpike has "real financial challenges" and, by law, has to pay PennDOT about $450 million a year. That's the reason for all the toll increases.

"I think this is going to drive people off of the turnpike and so what it's going to do is create more pressure on some of our smaller roads that go alongside the turnpike, and also as the turnpike gets less ridership, it's going to have to raise tolls even more, which is going to be unsustainable," said DePasquale.

Some drivers we spoke with say with the toll hikes, they will absolutely consider using alternate routes. Other drivers say they're sticking to the turnpike.

"I think I'd have to (consider taking another route). Six to seven percent jackups every year? There's no other way. We'd have to do that," said Austin Stout of Bucks County.

"It's not going to change my behavior relative to where I need to go and what I need to do to support a family, get work done so long as we continue to get good value, better roads, better outcomes and frankly more entrances and exits. If we do that, I'm fine," said Joe Geist of Montgomery County.

The toll is going up for most stretches of the turnpike. But tolls at two plazas in Lackawanna County--Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit--are not scheduled to go up until April. That's because the turnpike is converting those toll booths into "cashless tolling" plazas.

According to the turnpike website, tolls at those plazas will be assessed electronically so you won't have to stop at a booth at all.

8 comments

  • McCracken

    That $450m/yr (I’ve read it’s closer to $510m/yr) goes toward public transportation…aka Philadelphia. Reroute the Delaware River, upstream of Philadelphia, and kick that crap hole into NJ, where it belongs.

  • whatever831

    Yea. Pay penndot 450 million for what exactly? Ohhh I know, the people who hold up signs and smoke while on the job, making more money than someone with 2+ jobs. I get it. Thanks!

  • No surprise there!

    Where is all this money going? Oh I know right in there pockets. Just like that “gas tax” was for fixing the roads. Well I don’t see too many roads being fixed but they sure are working on news projects like that joke of a round about by the airport that failed miserably! And not to mention that stupid Susquehanna Valley project. They need to fix what’s broken before they start new things. Gotta love a democrat. Its all about the money and nothing else!! Glad I’m a republican!!!

  • Free ride

    Meanwhile, 17 million dollars of unpaid tolls go uncollected. It’s a shame they don’t have cameras installed at the booths to take a photo of the license plate. (Sarcasm) Makes no sense.

  • Choke on your toll and increase

    It’s already the highest charge per mile. Maybe if they would trim the fat from all the political patronage jobs.
    Criminals

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