On August 2, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) made public an action that will raise the rates on the toll road for all customers by 5% starting next year. The new rates for automobiles will rise ten cents for E-ZPass users and thirty cents for Toll-by-Tag, with a 15% discount if they use the PA Toll Pay app.
How much will the Ohio-to-New York cost rise?
Truckers will be paying more as well. Tolls for Class 5 tractor-trailers will increase from $13.70 to $14.40 for E-ZPass and from $28 to $29.40 for Toll By Plate. This is the rate for the “most-common toll,” but PTC does not have an updated 2023 toll calculator available as of publishing.
By my rough estimate, Class 5 trucks running fully loaded at 80,000 pounds (Weight class 7) driving from Ohio Connection at Exit 2 to the Delaware Bridge on I-95, Exit 43, should expect an increase of $12.30 to the current gate-to-gate rate of $255. Remember, no pennies in the toll booths, so round up to the nearest ten cents.
Why does this keep happening every year?
Well, you can’t blame this on inflation, because the constantly inflating toll is tied to Act 44 of 2007. That legislation required the Pennsylvania Turnpike to transfer between $450 and $900 million annually to the Commonwealth to support transportation projects statewide. While Act 89 of 2013 did cap those payments to $50 million, don’t expect the toll increases to stop.
Since Act 44 took effect, the PTC has transferred nearly $8 billion to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), according to the commission, mostly in the form of borrowing that must be repaid by the PTC over a 30-year bond period.
Therefore, we can expect annual rate increases until 2050, although after 2038 it might lessen when the debt service repayments begin. This will push some drivers to run “the backroads” more often. Let’s hope the money being sent to PennDOT is used to upkeep those roads like the law requires.