Pennsylvania Turnpike Rates Jump Again On Sunday

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new year will take its toll on Pennsylvania motorists — literally.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will raise tolls for the sixth consecutive year, with the price increases taking effect Sunday.

Drivers paying in cash will see a 12-percent rate increase, while E-ZPass users will incur a more palatable 2-percent hike as the commission tries to encourage drivers to use the more efficient electronic option to traverse the toll road.

Increased tolls have become customary after Gov. Ed Rendell signed Act 44 into law in 2007, requiring the commission to fork over $450 million annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/20140103/pennsylvania-turnpike-rates-jump-again-on-sunday

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Without Changes, It Would Cost $50 To Cross The Turnpike By 2021

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the legislature doesn’t phase out the $450 million the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission must pay PennDOT every year, it will cost a driver $50 in tolls to cross the state within eight years, according to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

If Act 44, the 2007 bill that required the turnpike to fund bridge repair and mass transit, isn’t changed, the toll for a trip across the state would rise to $150 by 2057, DePasquale warned in a report on Turnpike debt issued Tuesday.

His report comes as the legislature is working through a massive transportation funding bill. Gov. Tom Corbett and leaders in both the House and Senate have said sunsetting Act 44 must be a part of any legislation.  If Act 44 is not phased out, Turnpike CEO Mark Compton has said the commission will have to begin scaling back its maintenance and improvement budget.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/without_changes_it_would_cost.html#incart_m-rpt-2

New Pennsylvania Turnpike Head Says He’s Ready To Face Down Corruption

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – The new chief executive of the troubled Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says he’s glad a scathing grand jury report is finally out, despite its damning allegations of political corruption and influence-peddling within the agency.

“We all knew it was coming, so there is limited relief that it’s here,” Mark P. Compton said in his office overlooking the toll road, outside Harrisburg.  “Now we can deal with it.”

Supplied with the 85-page report, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane earlier this month filed criminal charges against eight men, including former State Sen. Robert Mellow (D., Lackawanna) and one of Compton’s predecessors, former Turnpike chief executive Joseph Brimmeier.

The grand jury said top turnpike officials solicited contractors for campaign contributions to favored politicians, including then-Gov. Ed Rendell, and took gifts of international travel, sports events, and lavish meals.  In return, the contributors’ companies received multimillion-dollar contracts, even when other bidders were less expensive and more qualified, the report said.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/state/20130401_New_Pa__Turnpike_head_says_he_s_ready_to_face_down_corruption.html

Tolls Climbing, Traffic Declining As Pa. Turnpike Officials Chase Revenue

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  They’re pricing themselves out of business!

HARRISBURG — If you tax something, you get less of it.

It’s one of the basic lessons of economics, and the same principle can be applied to tolls, as the Pennsylvania Turnpike is finding out.

Motorists using the turnpike will face their fifth toll increase in as many years when rates climbed by 10 percent for cash-paying customers (2 percent for those using EZ-Pass) on Sunday.

A recent investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review examined how those increases have affected truck traffic on the highway — suggesting that the higher tolls have caused trucks to divert onto local roads in western Pennsylvania instead of using the turnpike:

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130107/NEWS01/130109756/tolls-climbing-traffic-declining-as-pa-turnpike-officials-chase-revenue#full_story

Pennsylvania Turnpike Is Billions Of Dollars In Debt

Map of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Map of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Stop the madness!

PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Turnpike may be on the road to the poorhouse.

Required by a 2007 state law to provide billions of dollars for statewide road and bridge repairs and transit operations, the turnpike is spending more money each year than it makes, despite toll increases that have doubled the cost to travel the turnpike over the last 10 years.

To meet the financial demands created by the law, Act 44, turnpike officials have borrowed aggressively, leaving the agency deeper in debt each year.

The Turnpike Commission is now more than $7 billion in debt, up from $2 billion in 2002 and $4 billion in 2009. The burden continues to grow, with the turnpike required to make payments until 2057.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411605