Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials are reminding travelers that most Turnpike tolls will increase 25 percent this weekend.
The new rates become effective at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.
With the new tolls, the most-common cash rate for passenger vehicles will increase from 75 cents to 95 cents, while the most-common cash rate for commercial vehicles will increase from $6.25 to $7.85.
A complete toll schedule is available at www.paturnpike.com.
The increase is required to enable the Turnpike to meet financial obligations under Act 44, passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Ed Rendell in July 2007.
With Act 44, the Turnpike is providing $2.5 billion in supplemental transportation funding from August 2007 to May 2010.
New toll revenue from the increase will mostly be used by PennDOT for off-Turnpike investment.
"Our customers need to know that tollbooth income is being reinvested in the commonwealth's transportation systems and economy. For the first time, tolls aren't only going back into state toll roads, but helping fund infrastructure improvements in every Pennsylvania county," Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier said. "In fact, more than 90 percent of the toll-increase proceeds will benefit non-Turnpike road and bridge projects and transit operations."
As a result of the toll increase - only the sixth rate change in more than 68 years - projected annual gross toll revenue will increase from $619.2 million (2008 fiscal year end) to approximately $738.4 million (projected 2010 fiscal year end).
The previous Pa. Turnpike toll increase occurred in August 2004.
Tolls will increase across the entire system with two exceptions: Tolls on the newest sections (Findlay Connector/PA-576 and Mon-Fayette Expressway/Turnpike 43 Uniontown to Brownsville section) will remain at their current rates that were set in anticipation of the increase.
The Turnpike is taking a new approach to future toll increases.
Starting in January 2010, tolls will go up incrementally about three percent each year. "Compared to levying a large increase every dozen years or so, regularly scheduled increases allow travelers to better anticipate rate changes," Brimmeier said. "Since half of our revenues are collected with E-ZPass, it's simpler to implement annual rate changes today."
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission operates and maintains 545 miles of toll roads in the state. It oversees 60 fare-collection facilities, 19 service plazas and 26 maintenance facilities. With 2,250 employees, it generated $619.2 million in annual gross toll revenue from 189.5 million vehicles a year for fiscal year 2008.
Known as "America's First Superhighway," it opened Oct. 1, 1940.