For the seventh consecutive year Pennsylvania turnpike tolls will increase on Jan. 4.
The 5 percent increase affects both EZPass users and cash payers, but the EZPass will still save customers about 35 percent. Right now a person traveling from Pittsburgh (Monroeville) to Breezewood pays $8.97 with an EZPass or $12.60 with cash, and these prices will rise to $9.42 and $13.23 respectively.
Since 2009, the Turnpike Commission has increased the tolls annually due to 2007's Act 44 which required it to provide supplemental funding to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The turnpike is required to hand over about $450 million a year, a little less than half of what they make annually from tolls according to Bill Capone, spokesperson for the Turnpike Commission.
“Up until now the toll increases have been on average at about a 3 percent increase. This one is a couple percent higher because we are also using some of the revenue from this toll increase to fund our capital program,” said Capone.
The capital program is a $600 million plan to rebuild and widen segments of the road, and replace older bridges. According to Capone some portions of the road and bridges are nearly 75 years old.
In 2023 customers can hope that the turnpike will stop raising prices as a new provision of Act 89 takes effect, dropping the annual Turnpike payment to PennDOT to $50 million annually.
“I know sometimes it becomes a burden financially for people to have to pay more tolls to drive our roadway, but we try to make people understand where these toll dollars are going," said Capone. "It’s not only going to improve the Pennsylvania Turnpike that they travel on, but also to improve transportation throughout the commonwealth."