Starting next year, it’s going to get a bit more expensive to travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike … again.
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission voted to increase tolls by six percent for all E-ZPass and cash customers starting on January 6, 2019 at 12:01 a.m.
The most-common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase next year from $1.30 to $1.38 for E-ZPass customers and from $2.10 to $2.25 for cash customers. The cashless toll at the westbound Delaware River Bridge in Bristol Township will increase from $5.00 to $5.30 for E-ZPass customers and from $6.75 to $7.20 for those who use 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, officials said.
Tolls on the Turnpike have increased every years in 2009 and likely will continue to increase. PAIndependent.com reported in 2015 that a trip across the state on the Turnpike could cost $80 by 2044.
The 552-mile Turnpike system has a $552 million capital budget that officials said is focused on keeping the system in good order and improving portions where work is needed.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission blamed the increase, in part, on a state mandate that requires $450 million annually to be transferred from the Turnpike to PennDOT.
“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,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Under that law, the commission has delivered $6.1 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in the last 11 years.”
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale tweeted about the toll increase hours after it was approved.
“I currently have teams auditing PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission. The results of those two audits could help provide some relief for motorists who are already tired of the toll increases. If they keep raising tolls, middle-class families are going to be forced off the roadway,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc. and the National Motorists Association filed a federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. In their suit, they alleged that the massive toll increases to help fund PennDOT are unconstitutional under federal interstate commerce laws.
The lawsuit is still making its way through the system.