Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has approved a new fare schedule for 2011 that increases rates by 10% system wide but holds the increase to 3% for E-ZPass users. A spokesperson for the Commission says the two new rates combine for an overall toll increase of approximately 5% percent, which is expected to generate an estimated $35 million in new revenues. The Commission says almost two-thirds of Pa. Turnpike users pay electronically via E-ZPass. "We believe it's essential to encourage more consumers to get E-ZPass. Besides the enhanced convenience for motorists, it's four times more efficient, processing up to 1,200 vehicles per hour compared to 300 per hour in a cash lane," says PA Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. Several other states offer similar discounts. The new toll rates take effect Jan. 2, 2011. The Commission has increased its rates three years in a row, but only 8 times in the 70 year history of the Turnpike. Brimmeier says, “We've done our best to streamline operations and become more efficient - especially after the economic downturn that impacted us as it has every other business." For E-ZPass customers, current rates will be multiplied by .03 and then rounded to the nearest penny. Cash rates will be set by multiplying the current rate by .10 and then rounding to the nearest nickel. The Pennsylvania Turnpike manages more than 850,000 active E-ZPass accounts. Toll rates on the Findlay Connector/Toll I-576 (coin machines) near Pittsburgh International Airport will remain at their current level.