MIDDLETOWN, Penn. —Toll increases for the Pennsylvania Turnpike is set to take effect shortly after midnight Sunday, Jan. 3. In July, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved the 6% increase for all E-ZPass rates systemwide and for the PA Turnpike toll-by-plate rates that had been established before the March 2020 conversion to all-electronic tolling at these six locations:
- Beaver Valley Expressway (Interstate 376);
- Delaware River Bridge (New Jersey border);
- Gateway Toll Plaza (Ohio border);
- Greensburg Bypass (PA Turnpike 66);
- Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit Tolls (Interstate 476/Northeastern Extension); and
- Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576/Southern Beltway).
In addition, PTC approved new toll-by-plate rates at all other toll facilities that were converted to all-electronic tolling in March. These new rates, also effective Jan. 3, include the 6% increase — plus an additional 45% increase over the 2020 cash rate for toll-by-plate motorists. These rates, which reflect the cost of toll-by-plate billing, will not be applied at the six toll facilities listed above.
“The new toll-by-plate rates offset the higher costs the commission incurs to process the toll, mail the invoices and collect payment — a pricing approach used by tolling agencies across the nation to cover the cost of administering AET systems,” said Mark Compton, CEO of the PTC. “This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to administer, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs.”
According to a statement from the PTC, these rate increases were driven by the PA Turnpike’s annual transit payments of $450 million to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as mandated by Acts 44 of 2007 and 89 of 2013. Since 2007, PTC has transferred $7 billion in funding to the state DOT.
Tolling app discount
The PTC also announced an upgrade to PA Toll Pay, the commission’s smartphone tolling app. In addition to E-ZPass account management, non-E-ZPass customers can use the smartphone app to create an autopay account and receive 15% savings on their monthly toll-by-plate invoices. The enhanced app will be available for turnpike travelers Jan. 3.
“Given the significantly higher rates now associated with the toll-by-plate option, we wanted to offer an alternative that would provide a measure of relief for travelers,” Compton said.
With the turnpike’s toll-by-plate option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by; then the registered owner of the vehicle receives an invoice for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail. Upon receipt of a toll-by-plate invoice, recipients also have an option to open an E-ZPass account and pay the lowest rate.
“E-ZPass drivers will continue to receive the lowest toll rates across the PA Turnpike, with some customers saving nearly 60% in 2021,” Compton said.
Starting Jan. 3, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.50 to $1.60 for E-ZPass customers and from $2.50 to $3.90 for those choosing toll by plate. 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 toll-by-plate customers.
Compton encourages PA Turnpike travelers to switch to E-ZPass, saying the service is the most convenient, economical way to travel and is accepted in all neighboring states and across the eastern U.S.
“Currently, 86% of our customers have chosen E-ZPass, with more switching every day,” he said.