For the seventh straight year, tolls are set to increase on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission met this morning; the first item on the agenda (PDF) was yet another toll increase. The increase was approved.
The five-percent fare increase, which should go into effect next January, applies equally to cash and E-ZPass tolls. A complete westbound trip across the state would rise to $39.90 ($28.60 E-ZPass), while a full eastbound trip would go up to $46.10 ($32.95 E-ZPass). Seventy-three percent of all turnpike drivers use the automated E-ZPass; the turnpike has 300 fewer collectors since its implementation.
The reasons for another toll increase? Though the Turnpike commission has slashed budgets, fixed costs like employee pensions restrict further cuts. Additionally, 2007's Act 44 mandates the turnpike commission pay $450 million to PennDOT each year. That law planned to make Interstate 80 a toll road but the federal government vetoed the idea; the payments stayed the same. They will go down to $50 million a year in 2022 under a revision made last year.