HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania turnpike toll fees will increase beginning 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, according to a press release.
The most common Turnpike toll will jump from $1 to $1.10 for cash-paying motorists and from 97 cents to $1 for those possessing E-ZPass. Travelers who enter the turnpike prior to Jan. 2 will be charged the current rates, despite exiting after the new rates have taken effect.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is encouraging motorists to take advantage of E-ZPass incentives that will represent a sizeable difference compared to cash rates, the release indicates. Those who do will only pay a 3-percent increase in 2011 compared to a 10-percent increase for cash-paying travelers. The new rates will result in a combined 5 percent overall toll increase.
The increase in toll prices is a result of Act 44 of 2007, which constitutes a funding agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to finance non-Turnpike road and bridge improvements and transit services across the Commonwealth. Since Act 44's inception in July 2007, the PTC has provided $2.725 billion in supplemental funding to PennDOT and is obligated to continue to pay PennDOT $450 million annually until the 50-year agreement ends in 2057, the release states.
New revenues accumulated from the 2011 toll increase will also help fund the Turnpike's Capital Improvement Plan, which includes the vital reconstruction and six-lane widening projects now under way and planned throughout the 545-mile Turnpike system, the release states.
According to the release, there also will be no fare schedule information printed on toll tickets dispensed upon entry beginning Jan. 2, 2011 - the new tickets with printed schedules will not be available until February or March. However, the release states cash-paying motorists can utilize the following means to determine tolls:
Toll-Rate Hotline - Turnpike travelers can determine tolls by calling 866.976.TRIP (866.976.8747). Motorists can call the toll-free number, provide entry and exit points, and request the cash or E-ZPass rate. The toll amount will be spoken aloud. Motorists are urged to use the TRIP line safely to avoid distractions while driving;
Online Toll Calculator - Visit www.paturnpike.com and click "Toll Info" to access a calculator that will determine trip mileage and exact toll based upon point of entry and exit, vehicle class and number of axles;
Printable Toll Schedules - Visit www.paturnpike.com and click on "Toll Info" followed by "Toll/Mileage Calculator" to find the option for Printable Toll Schedules. Select the appropriate version to download and print the complete toll schedule for all plazas and classes;
At the Tollbooth - Printed, plaza-specific toll schedule sheets are available at Turnpike cash lanes upon exit. The toll schedules pertain specifically to that particular exit.
E-ZPass can be purchased by visting paturnpike.com, calling (877) PENN-PASS or entering select Pennsylvania grocery retailers, including: Acme Markets, Karns Foods, Giant Eagle and Get-Go. According to the release, many of the state's AAA offices offer tag sales, and E-ZPass vending machines called "Tag Tellers" are available at select Turnpike service plazas.
The release states the cost to establish an automatically replenished account with a credit or debit card is $35, from which tolls will be deducted, plus a $6 annual membership fee. Signing up before Jan. 2 will cost only $3. According to the release, the PTC-issued E-ZPass tag is effective at all other toll facilities that show the purple-and-white E-ZPass logo.