Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approves 11th consecutive toll increase
July 3, 2018
For the 11th consecutive year, Pennsylvania motorists will be asked to pay more in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On Tuesday, July 3, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced a 6 percent toll increase to go into effect on Jan. 6, 2019.
According to a news release, the 6 percent increase will apply to both E-ZPass and cash customers. The increase will also apply to all turnpike sections and extensions, including the westbound Delaware River Bridge cashless tolling point in Bucks County. Tolls for the Delaware River Bridge have not increased since January 2016.
The turnpike commission mentions that the most common toll for a Class 5 tractor-trailer will increase from $3.45 to $3.66 for E-ZPass customers and from $15.35 to $16.30 for cash customers. Regarding the large difference between E-ZPass and cash customers, the commission notes that Class 5 E-ZPass customers typically take shorter trips than Class 5 truckers who pay cash or through the toll-by-plate system.
Last year, the turnpike commission raised tolls by 6 percent as well. However, the Delaware River Bridge was exempt and toll increases at three locations were delayed as they moved to cashless tolling.
This marks the 11th consecutive increase for the Pennsylvania Turnpike system.
A 2007 law, Act 44, required PTC to pitch in $450 million annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for mass transit and other PennDOT projects. Money from PTC to PennDOT does not have to be used for turnpike-related projects.
In 2013, Act 89 decreased PTC’s obligation to $50 million a year starting in 2023. Annual toll increases ranging from 3 percent to 6 percent are necessary to keep up with debts and obligations, PTC Chairman Sean Logan said in statement last year. Increases will continue through 2044, and payments totaling $5 billion will be made through 2057.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association have filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission regarding the tolls. In a lawsuit filed on March 15, OOIDA challenged the constitutionality of the imposition of excessive tolls by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. OOIDA claims that tolls, or “user fees,” become an undue burden on commerce once the amount is greater than a fair approximation of the value of the use of the toll road.