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November 04, 2015

Rates to increase as Pa. Turnpike's uncollected tolls hit $33 million

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission projects annual toll increases until 2044

In July, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a six percent toll increase that will impact both E-ZPass and cash customers effective January 3, 2016.

It now appears that part of the motivation for the toll increase is the daunting $33 million the Pa. Turnpike has racked up in uncollected tolls. 

Turnpike officials told The Associated Press that the uncollected fees are a consequence of having insufficient means to punish the state's 1.5 million violators.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Sean Logan said that whereas other states have the power to invalidate a vehicle's registration, fine violators and even jail them, in Pennsylvania there is little recourse for the state when tolls go unpaid.

Violators in Pennsylvania are billed from the furthest toll and assessed a $25 processing fee, but if the Turnpike receives no response after the first two notices, cases are transferred to a collections agency, which cannot report unpaid tolls to credit bureaus.

Logan said in July that the PTC will likely be obligated to continue increasing tolls for the foreseeable future. He suggested there would be annual increases of three to six percent until 2044.

Starting January 3, E-ZPass customer tolls will rise from $1.09 to $1.16, while cash customers will pay $1.85, up from $1.70.