The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is reminding travelers that the toll rates will increase on Jan. 6 by 10 percent for cash customers and 2 percent for E-ZPass customers.
According to a statement released by the Turnpike Commission, E-ZPass customers who now see about a 17-percent savings on tolls will save about 25 percent, on average, compared to cash. The new rates – which take effect at 12:01 a.m. this Sunday – are expected to generate approximately $25 million in new revenue in 2013.
"The toll increase is needed, in part, to satisfy the Turnpike's obligation to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help address a transportation-funding shortfall," the statement says. "Under Act 44 of 2007, the Turnpike continues to make annual contributions of $450 million to PennDOT; of that, $250 million is used for public-transit agencies and $200 million is used for off-Turnpike road and bridge projects."
The Turnpike Commission aims to increase E-ZPass enrollment because it’s less costly to process an electronic transaction compared to a cash transaction. Today, about 68 percent of all Pennsylvania Turnpike travelers already have E-ZPass, and the commission wants to grow that number as it develops a completely cashless system in the coming years.
“Since the Turnpike launched E-ZPass more than a dozen years ago, customers have valued the benefits they get from going cashless, including safety, convenience and environmental advantages,” said Acting Turnpike CEO Craig R. Shuey. “Now, by setting up a toll schedule that helps E-ZPass users save about 25 percent compared to cash, we’ve provided a more appealing incentive for those who’ve been meaning to sign up.”
It costs $38 to purchase an E-ZPass if using a credit or debit card to set up an auto-replenishment account; the cost includes a $35 toll balance plus the $3 annual fee. In addition, E-ZPass retailers charge a one-time convenience fee (there is no convenience fee for those who join online or by phone).
One E-ZPass transponder can be moved from vehicle to vehicle using the provided mounting strips. Just remember to call or go online to register the license plate number and other information for the vehicles to be used under the E-ZPass account.
A Pennsylvania Turnpike E-ZPass can be used on any toll facility where the purple-and-white logo is shown. Presently, there are 25 E-ZPass agencies in 15 states, largely in the Northeastern U.S., and more than 20 million E-ZPass transponders in use on toll roads, bridges and tunnels nationwide.