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PA Turnpike tolls increase Sunday with a big jump for Toll by Plate customers

Kim Strong
York Daily Record

It's a new year and a new toll hike from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

A 6% toll hike begins Sunday for all E-ZPass customers, and for those drivers using Toll by Plate, the increase is much larger. 

Toll by Plate customers - those not using E-ZPass - will see the same 6% increase along with an additional 45% increase.

Many toll payments to drive the Pennsylvania Turnpike fund transportation projects that have nothing to do with the highway.

The increases reflect the higher cost of billing and collection for Toll by Plate.

Six toll plazas had already received the 45% increase previously and will only have a 6% increase:

  • Beaver Valley Expressway (I-376)
  • Delaware River Bridge (New Jersey border)
  • Gateway Toll Plaza (Ohio border)
  • Greensburg Bypass (PA Turnpike 66)
  • Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit Tolls (I-476/Northeastern Extension)
  • Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576/Southern Beltway)

These changes were primarily driven by the PA Turnpike’s annual transit payments of $450 million to PennDOT. Since 2007, the commission has transferred $7 billion in funding to PennDOT.

“The new Toll by Plate rates offset the higher costs the commission incurs to process the toll, mail the invoices and collect payment — a pricing approach used by tolling agencies across the nation to cover the cost of administering AET systems,” PTC CEO Mark Compton said in a press release. “This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to administer, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs.”

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Here's the good news: The commission upgraded its tolling smartphone app that allows for E-ZPass account management as well as provides a savings to non-E-ZPass customers. 

Non E-ZPass customers can create an autopay account on the app and receive 15% savings on their monthly Toll by Plate bills. The app changes become available Sunday.

“Given the significantly higher rates now associated with the Toll by Plate option, we wanted to offer an alternative that would provide a measure of relief for travelers,” Compton said. "E-ZPass drivers will continue to receive the lowest toll rates across the PA Turnpike, with some customers saving nearly 60% in 2021.”

Kim Strong can be reached at kstrong@gannett.com.