The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Friday that it has approved toll increases for 2013.
Starting Sunday, Jan. 6, drivers will see a 10 percent increase if paying cash, or 2 percent if paying through an E-ZPass account.
The new rates are projected to bring in 3 percent more revenue and nudge drivers toward the E-ZPass system. Drivers paying electronically with E-ZPass will pay 25 percent less than those who pay in cash, up from 17 percent in 2012, and the annual fee will drop from $6 to $3 for noncommercial customers.
“Implementing this toll increase generates the needed revenue to satisfy our annual transportation-funding obligation of $450 million to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, while at the same time helping to boost enrollment in E-ZPass, which has been a longtime commission priority,” commission chief Roger E. Nutt said in a statement.
Last year, the commission raised cash tolls 10 percent but . According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2013 "will be the 5th consecutive year of toll increases on the turnpike."
The turnpike commission also is encouraging drivers to enroll in its electronic payment system by adding E-ZPass-only interchanges, such as one built recently near Parx Casino in Bensalem.
According to commission spokesperson Mimi Doyle, all-electronic interchanges already are open in Fort Washington, Montgomery County, and Bensalem, Bucks County, with yet another planned for the Poconos region of the Northeast Extension.
The commission also selected a contractor to expand its electronic-payment system, according to the release:
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also selected a program manager to lead the potential implementation of a cashless, All-Electronic Tolling (AET) system. The commission voted unanimously to engage HNTB Corp. after a competitive process. HNTB is an internationally-recognized firm with deep experience in tolling. The firm has offices in Philadelphia, Norristown, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh; the AET project will be managed from HNTB’s Harrisburg office.
The full release from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is attached to this article.
Do you consider this a reasonable increase? And, what do you think of new no-cash, EZPass-only exits? Tell us in the comments!