Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approves annual toll hike
July 7, 2021
Like every July for the past 13 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission recently approved a toll increase for next year.
On Tuesday, July 6, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced a 5% increase in toll rates for both E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers. Those increases will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2022. According to a news release, the increase will include the entire tollway system except on the Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576) west of Pittsburgh.
This marks the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s 14th consecutive annual toll increase. Last year, the commission approved a 6% increase. However, that toll hike affected only six locations along the turnpike.
According to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the most common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $13 to $13.70 for E-ZPass and from $26.60 to $28 for Toll By Plate customers.
After the 2022 increase goes into effect, E-ZPass and Toll By Plate rates for both passenger and commercial vehicles will round up to the next dime. The turnpike commission will post a 2022 trip calculator and toll schedule online this fall at PATurnpike.com/toll/TollMileage.aspx.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved the toll-rate schedule for the opening of the Southern Beltway in October.
Tolls for the Southern Beltway will include the 45% additional charge that is in place on the turnpike system. However, there will be no January 2022 toll increase for the Southern Beltway. Class-5 trucks with E-ZPass will pay $5.60 for that toll, while Toll By Plate truckers will pay $11.20.
“Today’s action is the first time in six years that the rate of increase is under 6%,” explained Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Starting in July 2022, our transit funding requirement to PennDOT under Act 44 of 2007 will be cut to $50 million annually. Finally, we are seeing a light at the end of this very long tunnel. In addition to breathing a huge sigh of relief ourselves, it enables us to begin to offer some relief to customers from those heftier toll increases and refocus.”
A 2007 law, Act 44, required the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to pitch in $450 million annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for mass transit and other PennDOT projects. Money from the commission to PennDOT does not have to be for turnpike-related projects.
In 2013, Act 89 decreased the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s obligation to $50 million a year starting in 2022. Annual toll increases ranging from 3% to 6% are necessary to keep up with debts and obligations, turnpike commission Chair Sean Logan said in statement a few years ago. Increases will continue through 2044, and payments totaling $5 billion will continue through 2057.
The amount of money generated from the turnpike was the center of a legal battle between the state and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA argued that Congress did not foresee a state increasing tolls by more than 200% to fund nontoll road projects. LL