The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a toll increase of 2 percent for E-ZPass customers and 12 percent for those using cash last July. The increase will take effect on Jan. 5, making 2014 the sixth year in a row toll charges have been raised.
Commission spokeswoman Renee Colburn said the toll hike will allow it to meet its obligation to the state under Act 44 and pay for widening the Turnpike.
“Every year our CFO and other executives go over all the funding that we need and what we are looking at for the future, and what it’s going to cost us for our capital-improvement plan for that year, and also our obligation to the state,” said Colburn.
Colburn said that in 2014 E-ZPass customers will save about 35 percent from using the devices, up from around 25 percent in 2013.
She said about 70 percent of drivers on the Turnpike use E-ZPass, up from around 68 percent last year.
Colburn said it costs the commission five to 10 times less to collect using form people using the devices.
Currently, motorists pay $1.40 in cash to travel the 10 miles from Pittsburgh (Monroeville) to Irwin. That will increase to $1.60 in January. Customers using E-ZPass will see their toll rise from $1.02 up to $1.04.
She said the commission is also containing work to implement All-Electronic Tolling on the Turnpike, which would allow customers will pay without slowing down or stopping at tollbooths.
“We’re looking at engineering and construction possibilities of how this whole system’s going to work like where the gantries are going to be placed, how the interchanges are going to take shape as far as eliminating them all together,” Colburn said. “We have a lot of design work that we’re going through. “
The commission says the system will be in place by 2018.