For the 13th year in a row, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) voted to hike toll rates for drivers.
On July 21, the PTC approved a 6% toll increase for all E-ZPass rates systemwide. This new toll rate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 3, 2021.
The PTC says that the most common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $12.20 to $13 for E-ZPass and from $17.30 to $26.60 for PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE customers after the changes approved July 21.
The 6% toll increase will also go into effect for PA Turnpike Toll By Plate rates that had been established prior to 2020 in the following locations:
- Beaver Valley Expressway (I-376);
- Delaware River Bridge (NJ border);
- Gateway Toll Plaza (Ohio border);
- Greensburg Bypass (PA Turnpike 66);
- Keyser Ave. and Clarkes Summit Tolls (Northeastern Extension); and
- Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576).
The PTC also rolled out new Toll by Plate rates for facilities that were converted to All-Electric Tolling (ETC) in June 2020.
“As part of its recent systemwide change in toll operations, the Commission today also approved new TOLL BY PLATE rates at toll facilities converted to AET in June. The new rates, which also take effect Jan. 3, 2021, include an average 45% increase over the 2020 cash rate for TOLL BY PLATE motorists to reflect the costs of collections for this tolling method. The new rate will not be applied at the previously mentioned TOLL BY PLATE facilities converted before 2020,” the PTC explained.
“The new TOLL BY PLATE rate reflects the higher costs the Commission incurs to process the toll and collect payment — a pricing approach used by tolling agencies across the nation to cover the costs of administering AET systems,” PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton explained. “This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to manage, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs.”
On June 2, the PTC announced the layoff of 500 workers due to Coronavirus and due to the conversion to the AET system that permanently ended cash tolling on the Turnpike.
This will mark the thirteenth consecutive year that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has elected to increase tolls. The toll increases have been needed to fund both infrastructure improvements and to fulfill a legal funding obligation to PennDOT. Compton says that over the last decade, the PTC has paid out nearly $7 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT.
In 2018, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed suit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for “excessive” toll increases which they say hampered interstate commerce. That suit was dismissed on April 4, 2019, in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. OOIDA is working on an appeal.