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PA Turnpike toll hike takes effect Sunday

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If you’re passing through the tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you can expect to pay a pretty penny.

As of Sunday, drivers who use cash will pay 10 percent more on the turnpike. E-ZPass users will pay two percent more. The rate hike gives turnpike officials the green light to widen and rebuild the highway, but has some drivers seeing red.

“I think it’s outrageous. It’s astronomically high,” said driver Jerry Canoy.

Turnpike officials expect the new rates will bring in about $25 million.

“So far, we’ve rebuilt and widened more than 100 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is the oldest toll road in the nation. That costs upwards of 20 to 30 million dollars per mile to rebuild that road,” said Carl DeFebo, spokesman for the PA Turnpike.

As of Sunday, E-ZPass customers will pay 25 percent less on average than people using cash. State officials are pushing people to use E-ZPass, saying it’s a better option for everyone involved.

“Not only is it safer, more convenient, more efficient for them, it’s much less costly for us. The commission from an efficiency standpoint is saving a lot of operational costs by getting more people to sign up for E-ZPass,” DeFebo said.

Some drivers said that’s exactly what they plan to do.

“I don’t know how much they have to keep going up. I’m actually going to think about getting an E-ZPass because it’s going to be a little bit cheaper,” said Deb Stoll, who uses the turnpike often.

But still others said they’d rather pay top dollar at at the tolls than change their normal routine.

“No. Too lazy,” said driver Brendan Ekstrom.