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July 22, 2020

Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls to increase by 45% for motorists without E-ZPass in 2021

Transportation Tolls
Pennsylvania Turnpike E-Z Pass THEFXEXPERT/Wikipedia Commons

Pennsylvania Turnpike drivers without E-ZPass will see what they pay in tolls increase 45% in 2021. Officials say the hire rate will cover the cost of the state's cashless Toll by Plate program.

Tolls will increase for drivers using the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the beginning of 2021, and it will be a particularly steep hike for those who do not have E-ZPass.

    The new rate amounts to a 45% increase, which turnpike officials say is necessary to cover the cost of processing tolls and collecting payments from those who utilize the state's Toll by Plate cashless fare collection program, officials said. This program sends motorists without E-ZPass bills for tolls via the mail.

    The increase will raise the average toll for a passenger vehicle without E-ZPass from $2.50 to $3.90. The average toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer without E-zPass will increase from $17.30 to $26.60.

    E-ZPass subscribers will see a 6% increase in toll fares — the same rate officials have instituted each of the past 12 years. Average toll rates will increase from $1.50 to $1.60 for a registered passenger vehicle and $12.20 to $13 for registered Class-5 tractor trailers. 

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike halted all cash and credit card payments in March at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak to mitigate the spread of the disease. In June, officials decided to permanently remove all cash toll collections. This resulted in approximately 500 toll collectors and fare-collection personnel being laid off. 

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved the toll increases on Tuesday. They take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Jan.3, 2021.

    "The new 'Toll by Plate' rate reflects the higher costs the Commission incurs to process the toll and collect payment," Mark Compton, CEO of Pennsylvania Turnpike, said. "This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to manage, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs."

    Driver without E-ZPass will have the option to pay the lower E-ZPass rate if they open an account for the automatic toll collection service upon receiving a Toll by Plate invoice.

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