HARRISBURG PA – The New Year will take its toll on Pennsylvania motorists — literally.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will raise tolls for a sixth consecutive year, with the price increases taking effect Sunday (Jan. 5, 2014), The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
Drivers paying in cash will see a 12-percent rate increase. E-ZPass users will incur a more palatable 2-percent hike, as the commission tries to encourage drivers to use the more efficient electronic option to traverse the toll road.
Increased tolls have become customary after the state in 2007 enacted Act 44, requiring the commission to fork over $450 million annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The commission has paid PennDOT more than $4 billion during the past six years, but that falls short of the $4.6 billion in debt it took on to finance the payments.
That debt has helped drive up the cost of a cross-state trip on the turnpike by more than 54 percent since 2009, when it cost $28.45 for a passenger vehicle to cross the highway.
Starting Sunday, a trip across the turnpike will cost $43.90 in cash, up from the $39.15. E-ZPass users will pay $31.38, 61-cent increase from the current rate, but a $12.52 savings compared to paying with cash.