C O M M I S S I O N N E W S R E L E A S E
Commonly Asked Questions About Pending Toll Increase
When was the last time the PA Turnpike increased tolls?
The last increase was 13 years ago, in 1991. However, that increase was required to finance the cost of new Turnpike construction and expansion projects mandated by the Pennsylvania legislature. The last time tolls were increased to cover the costs of maintaining the main-line Turnpike was in 1978 more than a quarter century ago.
It seems like there's already a lot of construction on the Turnpike. Why the need for more?
The Turnpike has made historic investments in roadway upgrades over the last decade. However, without a toll increase, much of the construction will simply be band aid fixes such as repaving. Due to the age of the Turnpike (built in the 1930's) the highway must be completely rebuilt, not just repaved. Additionally, there are more than 800 bridges along the length of the Turnpike. A typical bridge has a lifespan of about 50 years. There are bridges some quite long that will need to be replaced entirely to maintain a safe driving experience.
Traffic volume along the Turnpike has increased dramatically in the 13 years since the last toll increase from 102 million vehicles annually to more than 160 million a 57-percent increase.
Won't this proposed increase go toward government operations?
No! 100-percent of the additional tolls collected from motorists will be dedicated to making improvements to the road surface, bridges and tunnels, making the Turnpike safer for years to come. None of it will be spent for administrative operations.
How did Turnpike staff arrive at an average toll increase of 1.8 cents-per-mile for passenger vehicles and 5.3 cents-per-mile for commercial vehicles?
While a larger increase could have been justified given the capital plan funding requirements, Turnpike staff did not want to propose an increase that was more than the rate of inflation since 1991 the last time tolls were increased. Raising tolls 1.8 cents-per-mile for passenger vehicles and an average of 5.3 cents-per-mile for commercial vehicles would give the Turnpike the necessary revenue to properly maintain the highway without exceeding the rate of inflation.
What kind of economic impact will this proposed toll increase have on Pennsylvania 's economy?
A revenue increase of $1 billion over 10 years will increase the Turnpike's highway capital spending by $1.5 billion. Based on industry estimates, that will generate economic activity of $3 billion and will create 7,000 new construction industry and related jobs.
When would tolls increase?
The Turnpike Commissioners are expected to vote on the staff recommendation on January 20, 2004 . If a toll increase is adopted at that time, motorists would not see an increase in tolls until August 1, 2004 .
Turnpike staff believes this proposed increase would avoid the need for an additional increase at least through the end of this decade, and likely beyond.
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649