The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reminds motorists that toll rates will increase on Jan. 6 by 10 percent for cash customers and 2 percent for E-ZPass customers. With the increase, E-ZPass customers who now see about a 17-percent savings on tolls will save about 25 percent, on average, compared to cash. The new rates – which take effect at 12:01 a.m. this Sunday – are expected to generate approximately $25 million in new revenue in 2013.
Because tolls have never been increased on the Southern Beltway (Pa. Turnpike 576) since its 2006 opening (while tolls on other Turnpike sections have gone up 48 percent), cash customers on this section of road near the Pittsburgh International Airport will see a 50 percent increase on Jan. 6. E-ZPass customers using the Southern Beltway will see no toll rate increase.
The toll increase is needed, in part, to satisfy the Turnpike’s obligation to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help address a transportation-funding shortfall. Under Act 44 of 2007, the Turnpike continues to make annual contributions of $450 million to PennDOT; of that, $250 million is used for public-transit agencies and $200 million is used for off-Turnpike road and bridge projects. To date, the Turnpike has provided more than $3.6 billion in funding which has been invested all across the state.
The toll increase is also to fund the Turnpike’s capital plan, focused on total reconstruction and widening projects in which the highway is completely rebuilt from the ground up and expanded from four to six lanes.