PA Turnpike approves six percent toll increase for 2020

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) today approved a six percent toll increase for 2020, for both E-ZPass and cash customers.

E-ZPass customers driving on the turnpike should expect average prices to increase from $1.40 to $1.50. Cash customers should expect prices to increase from $2.30 to $2.50. Tolls for an E-ZPass Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $3.70 to $4.00, with cash tolls for this kind of tractor trailer increasing from $16.30 to $17.30.

The cashless toll at the Delaware River Bridge will increase from $5.30 to $5.70 for E-ZPass customers, and from $7.20 to $7.70 for those who use PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE.

Tolls will not rise on January 5, 2020 at three western PA highways, as these locations will see increases October 27, 2019. They are: PA Turnpike 376, (Beaver Valley Expressway), PA Turnpike 66 (Greensburg Bypass or Amos K. Hutchinson Bypass), and the Gateway tolling point (milepost 2 near Ohio on I-76).

The toll increase, like previous annual increases, is required to meet escalating debt-service costs associated with the PTC’s annual Act 44/Act 89 contributions to the Commonwealth of PA for transit operations and funding for the PTC’s ten-year capital program.

“Since 2007, the commission has increased tolls annually to maintain its aging roads and make good on a funding obligation required by two state laws, Act 44 of 2007 and Act 89 of 2013. As a result, the commission has delivered 6.6 billion dollars in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in the last dozen years,” said Mark Compton, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO.

Last month, the PA Turnpike issued $800 million in subordinate municipal bonds to help fund 900 million dollars in payments to the Commonwealth for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years. A 450 dollar payment was made June 27 for the commonwealth’s fiscal year ended June 30. By law, these payments support mass transit statewide, with the bulk of funding supporting transit in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Due to this onerous funding requirement, nearly half of the PA Turnpike’s FY 2020 toll revenue will go to pay debt service alone. Anticipated toll revenue is estimated at 1.4 billion dollars for the fiscal year, and our debt-service payments are roughly 700 million dollars for the year,” said Compton.

Compton said the increases will also support the PTC’s 10-year plan to preserve the Turnpike.

“Parts of our tollway turn 79 years old on October 1, and we must continue to invest in our road to make it safer, smoother and wider for customers,” said Compton.

The PTC has reconstructed more than 140 miles of its system, with another eleven miles of roadway being rebuilt and widened, and more than 82 miles in planning and design phases.

As part of ongoing efforts to control costs, Compton noted that the PTC has seen success in limiting the growth in the operating budget and reducing spending in the ten-year capital plan by about one billion dollars.

“We are doing what we can to mind our shop and manage costs as we deal with our economic realities. For the 2019 fiscal year ending May 31, we’re projecting operating expenses to come in almost 40 million dollars under budget while actual expense growth over the 2018 fiscal year is projected to be less than one percent,” said Compton.

The PTC will post a 2020 trip calculator and toll schedule online this fall. Visit www.paturnpike.com/toll/tollmileage.aspx.

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