HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved a 6 percent toll increase for both E-ZPass and cash customers, set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 8, 2017.
Revenues from the 2017 increase will also allow the PTC to fund its annual requirement to support off-Turnpike ground-transportation enhancements. Since 2007, the PTC has been providing supplemental funding to the commonwealth that is invested by PennDOT into non-tolled highways and public-transportation providers. Starting in Fiscal Year 2015, PTC payments have funded transit exclusively.
Commissioners also ordered a system-wide reassessment of all turnpike improvement projects in both the design and construction phases to confirm that the best decisions are being made on capital expenditures.
The PTC continues to focus on cost-cutting measures to mitigate future increases. For instance, it implemented a strategic plan with renewed emphasis on controlling operating-expense growth; it has held the line on operating costs; and it has reduced headcount by eight percent in the last decade — and by 20 percent in the fare-collection department in the same time frame due to E-ZPass usage.
During the last nine years, the PTC has provided $5.2 billion to PennDOT, of which $2.25 billion has supported highways while $2.95 billion has supported transit.
As a result of a transportation law enacted in 2013, the PTC’s funding obligation to PennDOT will drop from $450 million a year to $50 million a year beginning in Fiscal Year 2023.
As a result of the 6 percent increase, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will rise from $1.16 to $1.23 for E-ZPass customers and from $1.80 to $1.95 for cash customers. The most common toll for a Class-5 vehicle — a prevalent tractor-trailer class — will increase from $9.59 to $10.17 for E-ZPass and from $13.60 to $14.45 for cash.
Toll rates will not increase next year on the turnpike’s Delaware River Bridge cashless tolling point northeast of Philadelphia. Tolls at that location will remain at 2016 rates.