What to Know
- New year means higher Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls, again. The cost to ride the highway is going up at least 6 percent.
- The increase is needed to offset costs of upkeep on the 78-year-old toll road, the turnpike commission says.
- Not everyone thinks it's necessary. The state auditor general says increasing tolls could eventually lead motorists to choose other roads.
If a new year is beckoning, Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls must be about to go up.
For the 11th year in a row, motorists will pay more to drive the turnpike. The increase covers all parts of the turnpike including the 359-mile roadway that stretches from the Delaware River to Ohio, the 110-mile Northeast Extension that runs from the Philadelphia suburbs to northeastern Pennsylvania and the 83 miles of the Western Expansion.
The increase is needed to offset costs of upkeep on the 78-year-old toll road, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton said. "We owe it to customers, who pay a premium to travel, to invest in our road and make it safer, smoother and wider.”
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Eighty-four percent of the turnpike’s $552 million capital budget will go to the improvements on the highway.
Tolls will rise 6 percent for all motorists beginning Sunday. For passenger vehicles traveling the length of the Turnpike, that means an increase from $55 to $58.30 for cash payers and $39.25 to $41.60 for E-ZPass tag holders. (Click here for toll costs.)
Not everyone thinks it's necessary. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said increasing tolls could eventually lead motorists to choose other routes. His office is conducting a review of turnpike finances and usage.
Compton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the agency hasn't seen signs of a sustained drop in usage. The turnpike carried more than 200 million vehicles last year, Compton said.