Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls go up on Jan. 5

December 31, 2019

Land Line Staff

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Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are scheduled to go up another 6% on Jan. 5.

The increase affects both E-ZPass and cash customers. This is the 12th consecutive year of toll increases on the turnpike.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved the 6% increase in tolls in July.

Only three western highways are exempt from the 2020 increase:

  • PA Turnpike 376, (Beaver Valley Expressway).
  • PA Turnpike 66 (Greensburg Bypass or Amos K. Hutchinson Bypass).
  • Gateway tolling point (milepost 2 near Ohio on I-76).

These locations will have toll increases on Oct. 27, 2019, instead.

According to a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission news release, the most common toll for a Class 5 tractor-trailer will increase from $3.70 to $4 for E-ZPass and from $16.30 to $17.30 for cash customers.

A 2020 trip calculator and toll schedule is available at PATurnpike.com/toll/TollMileage.aspx.

Tolls to pay debt service

The toll increases are required to meet escalating debt-service costs associated with Act 44/Act 89 contributions to the Commonwealth for transit operations and funding for the commission’s 10-year capital program.

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“Due to this onerous funding requirement, nearly half of the PA Turnpike’s FY 2020 toll revenue will go to pay debt service alone,” Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said in a statement. “Anticipated toll revenue is estimated at $1.4 billion for the fiscal year, and our debt-service payments are roughly $700 million for the year.”

The amount of money generated from the turnpike has been the center of a legal battle between the state and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

OOIDA continues to contest the toll

In December, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case challenging tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

OOIDA filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court in its lawsuit alleging that Pennsylvania’s tolls are unconstitutional. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

This came in response to a federal appeals court siding with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in OOIDA’s toll lawsuit.

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

OOIDA contends that there are issues arising from the definition of a toll, a burden on interstate commerce, and whether or not Congress authorized toll revenue to be used for projects not related to the turnpike. Defendants claim that the definition is irrelevant if there is no burden on interstate commerce. Furthermore, the constitutional merits of the Commerce Clause is irrelevant if Congress gave the state authorization.

Staff Writer Tyson Fisher contributed to this report.

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