HARRISBURG, Pa. — A toll increase approved by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) last year will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 8.
The PTC approved a 5% increase for E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers on Aug. 2, 2022. E-ZPass drivers will continue to get the lowest rates, saving nearly 60% versus Toll By Plate. To check toll rates for travel on the PA Turnpike, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/toll-calculator.
For a Class 8, five-axle big rig, the increase with an E-ZPass will total $1.57, making the raising the cost to $32.97. Without E-ZPass, the price will increase from $64 to $67.20, according to the PTC online calculator.
After the increase is applied, E-ZPass and Toll By Plate rates for passenger and commercial vehicles will round up to the next dime, a PTC news release noted.
“The PTC has been forced to increase tolls annually through the foreseeable future to meets its financial obligations under Act 44 of 2007, said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “It’s worth noting that, even with these ongoing annual increases, our per-mile toll rate continues to be below the midline compared with rates of other U.S. tolling agencies.”
The PTC also reminds drivers that Act 112 — a measure signed into law on Nov. 3, 2022 — is now in effect.
It enables the PA Turnpike to work with PA Department of Transportation to suspend motor-vehicle registrations of owners with four or more overdue Toll By Plate invoices or $250 or more in unpaid tolls or outstanding toll invoices. Before Act 112, registration suspensions required a higher threshold of six past-due toll invoices or $500 or more in unpaid tolls.
“This law strengthens our efforts to hold violators accountable for failure to pay,” Compton said. “By far, most travelers do the right thing and pay their fair share. If you’re someone who believes there are no consequences for toll theft, we want you to know that you’re mistaken.”
If convicted, penalties for operating a vehicle with a suspended registration could include:
- A mandatory, three-month driver’s license suspension.
- Fines of up to $500 plus court costs.
- Auto-insurance policy cancellations and higher premiums.
- A record of the violation on the owner’s driver history.
“Vehicle owners who think they may be at risk of having their vehicle registration suspended should take immediate action to avoid these costly consequences,” Compton said. “Contact us today to make good on any unpaid tolls before you can no longer legally operate your vehicle.”
The 5% toll increase is needed to meet the PA Turnpike’s funding and capital-improvement obligations. While the Turnpike regularly outpaces national roadway standards for safety, quality and rideability, the Commission does not receive tax appropriations to operate and maintain its roadway.
For the past 15 years, under Act 44 of 2007, the PA Turnpike has been legislatively mandated to transfer more than $7.9 billion to PennDOT for highway and transit needs. While the funding obligation decreased from $450 million to $50 million per year in 2022, the PA Turnpike will be paying down the debt to finance the Act 44 mandate for years to come. The Commission’s funding plan calls for toll increases of 5% through 2025 based on current projections. The goal is to hold annual increases to 3% beginning in 2028.
Additionally, toll revenues fund the 24/7 operation of the toll road along with system improvements including construction of new interchanges and reconstruction and widening projects to rebuild and expand the roadway from four to six lanes.
“We recognize our customers pay a premium to travel our roadway,” Compton said. “We are committed to maintain and enhance our 82-year-old system to provide a smooth, safe customer experience during every season of the year and hour of the day.”
Compton added that PA Turnpike per-mile toll rates remain in line with rates on toll facilities across the country (see chart).
“It’s worth noting that, despite annual increases, the PA Turnpike’s per-mile toll rate is still below the national average for passenger vehicles and most commercial vehicles,” he said. “In addition, other U.S. tolling agencies have adopted our practice of annual rate increases to meet rising financial obligations.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.