PENNSYLVANIA -- Pennsylvania’s Turnpike Commission announced this week its toll prices will be increasing in the New Year.
Officials say they expect a six percent increase starting January 6, the eleventh time in a row, leaving some drivers in Cumberland County a bit frustrated with the decision.
"It’s ridiculous," said John Gould of New Cumberland. “Pretty soon people are going to go broke trying to use the Turnpike. “I can remember years back when it was 35 cents to go from the Harrisburg interchange to this one," he added.
Passenger vehicles using an E-ZPass, will now pay eight cents more than last year paying $1.38 versus last years $1.30.
As for cash customers, they'll see a 15 cent increase and can expect to pay $2.25 versus last years $2.10.
“You can see why I ride motorcycles it’s cheaper for me to ride," said Gould.
The 2019 toll increase — like previous annual toll increases — is required to meet the PTC’s funding obligations as well as maintaining and improving the 552-mile PA Turnpike system. Since 2009, the PTC has increased tolls annually to make good on a funding obligation required by a 2007 state law known as Act 44.
Under that law, the commission has delivered $6.1 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in the last 11 years.
Officials with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission say the money made from tolls will continue to go towards improving roadways.
In a statement, they wrote in part quote -- “Parts of our tollway will soon turn 78 years old, and we owe it to all toll-paying customers to continue to invest in our road to make it safer, smoother and wider.” - PA Turnpike CEO, Mark Compton
“It’s a money maker like every other business," said Gould.
However not all drivers believe the hike in toll prices is justified.
“It’s kind of ridiculous to have to pay that much to drive on a highway," said Mark Andel of New Jersey. “Coming in from Ohio where my parents live to New Jersey it’s about $34 for us just to go on the Turnpike," he added.
Some people say they are even considering taking alternate routes instead of paying to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“It makes the trip a lot harder for us because we don’t get to go as often and due to the amount of tolls, plus the gas we have to pay," said Ashley Andel of New Jersey.
Turpike toll prices will vary based on location and vehicle type.
The cashless toll at the westbound Delaware River Bridge will increase from $5.00 to $5.30 for E-ZPass customers and from $6.75 to $7.20 for those who use PA Turnpike TOLL-BY-PLATE.
The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor-trailer truck will increase from $3.45 to $3.66 for E-ZPass and from $15.35 to $16.30 for cash. (Note, truckers in this class who use E-ZPass tend to take shorter trips than those who pay with cash or PA Turnpike TOLL-BY-PLATE).