LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE / WYOU-TV) –Another year, another toll increase. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced in the beginning of 2020, a six percent toll increase will be in place for drivers.
“I kind of think it’s horrible. I could understand the need to maintain roads but they have gone up so much,” says Oliver Smith, a turnpike user from Nanticoke.
These seem to be the reactions to anyone you talk to about the toll increase. Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved the toll increase for both cash payments or E-Z pass users. The increase is set to go in effect on January 5, 2020, and is enacted to help future roadway projects.
“It just doesn’t make sense. Where and how are the funds being used? Upkeep, maintenance, etc., but it is outrageous,” says Smith.
For a passenger vehicle, tolls will increase from $1.40 to $1.50 for E-Z pass customers, while cash users will see an increase from $2.30 to $2.50.
“I travel there about at least once a month, sometimes a little more. If I can, I choose alternative routes instead of traveling it,” says Smith.
“If it’s a long trip, it is cost-effective. But, shorter trips near my house, I have made some changes where I don’t use it anymore where I am going one or two exits, where I can get there in just the same amount of time,” says Tom Liptak from North Huntingdon.
Eyewitness News spoke with Carl DeFebo, the spokesman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. He says he understands why drivers would be upset with the rise.
“It’s important that our customers understand that we kind of have this dual-funding obligation, that we are helping to improve the roadways and safety in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But, we are also helping to improve mobility in urban areas,” says DeFebo.
DeFebo says the PA Turnpike Commissioners meet every July and have increased tolls annually for the past 12 years to meet funding obligations to the commonwealth.
DeFebo hopes by 2022 that these increases of six percent will drop to more of what would be considered “inflation levels”. He also mentions the ease of using an E-Z pass.
“I think it’s important to point out that these toll increases are a great opportunity to really reconsider if you’re not signed up for an E-Z pass, to really reconsider that,” DeFebo said.