Cross-State Cost On Pennsylvania Turnpike In 2015: $46.05

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

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

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will increase 5 percent in 2015, effective Jan. 4.

The decision by the Turnpike Commission Tuesday to hike tolls for the seventh year in a row means the cash toll to drive from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border will be $46.05 for passenger cars, up from the current $43.85

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140618_Cross-state_cost_on_Pa__Turnpike_in_2015___46_05.html#oMutHh3mv0r47KXy.99

More Than A Dozen Injured In Pennsylvania Turnpike Crashes

Tollgate at the Willow Grove interchange (exit...

Tollgate at the Willow Grove interchange (exit 343) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 276) with Pennsylvania Route 611 in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Authorities say more than a dozen people were injured in traffic accidents involving several tractor-trailers and dozens of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia.

Abington Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Cindy Taing says the hospital received 16 patients, including five trauma patients. She says no one has life-threatening injuries.

The series of accidents backed up traffic for miles between the Bensalem and Willow Grove exits of the turnpike, the state’s primary east-west highway.

The crashes were reported just after 8 a.m., about five hours after a storm that dropped a foot of snow finally moved out. Speed restrictions enacted during the storm had been lifted at 6 a.m., but motorists say the roadway was very slick.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140214/updated-more-than-a-dozen-injured-in-pa-turnpike-crashes

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Delivery Of Road Salt Falling Short Across Western Pennsylvania

Penn Township in Westmoreland County ordered 500 tons of rock salt Jan. 21, 500 more Jan. 23 and 500 more Jan. 30, for a total of 1,500 tons. As of Friday, only 350 tons — less than enough to deal with two typical accumulating snowstorms — had arrived.

The township is not alone. Communities throughout the state and across the Midwest and Northeast are struggling to keep up with a winter that has gnawed away at their salt supplies.

There is no shortage, according to one major supplier. The problem is twofold: recurring snowfalls, none of them blizzards but with enough accumulation to require road treatment, and bitter cold that has iced rivers and slowed the progress of barges carrying salt to depots.

“We have plenty of salt,” said Peggy Landon, director of corporate communications and investor relations for Compass Minerals, parent of Kansas-based North American Salt, which ships rock salt to 5,000 destinations in North America. “It’s being transported every single day.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/02/10/Shortage-of-road-salt-growing-in-Western-Pennsylvania/stories/201402100071#ixzz2sw8Bkboz

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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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Goodbye, Tollbooth: E-ZPass Will Soon Retire A Turnpike Icon

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving ahead with plans to convert to an all-electronic toll collection system by 2018, an inevitable nod to technology that will improve the situation for motorists.

Once fully implemented, the 545-mile turnpike’s 76 tollbooths will be a thing of the past.  Vehicles would maintain normal highway speeds as they pass under overhead stanchions equipped with electronic readers, which is what happens now in some E-ZPass lanes.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/goodbye-tollbooth-e-zpass-will-soon-retire-a-turnpike-icon-701322/#ixzz2dTiWEbl9

Turnpike Tolls To Increase, Especially For Cash Customers

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

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

Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will notice a bump in their tolls next year, especially when paying with cash.

On Monday the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced toll increases of 12 percent for cash customers and 2 percent for E-ZPass customers.  The new rates go into effect Jan. 5.

In a statement, the commission said it needed the rate hike to make its annual $450 million payment to the state and to fund additional construction on the turnpike.

The five-member commission approved the increase at its July 15 meeting.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=497929

PA Turnpike To Be Widened From Valley Forge To Downingtown

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

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

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has picked a construction manager for a $480 million road-widening project between the Valley Forge and Downingtown interchanges.

Hill International of Marlton, N.J., will be paid $17.1 million to manage the project. Roadwork is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and will continue into 2020, Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said Wednesday.

The roadwork will be done in two phases, DeFebo said, beginning next summer at the Valley Forge interchange and going west for about six miles.  That work is expected to last about three years, the spokesman said.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130718/NEWS03/130719320/turnpike-to-be-widened-from-valley-forge-to-downingtown-#full_story

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

Financing For Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-95 Connector Concerns Auditor General

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Friday that an unusual plan to finance construction of the I-95/Pennsylvania Turnpike connection “raises alarms” and may prompt an investigation by his office.

DePasquale said he was especially interested in why an entity was created to broker the deal, in which wealthy foreign investors would lend the turnpike $200 million in exchange for possible permanent residence in the United States.

DePasquale said his office was legally bound to wait until a transaction is completed before launching an audit, so “it may be several months or longer” before he formally investigates the turnpike plan.

“I am going to follow this situation carefully,” DePasquale said.  “It raises some alarms.  I’m not taking a position that it’s wrong yet. . . . We’ll wait till the issue is ripe for an audit.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130511_Financing_for_turnpike_I-95_connector_concerns_auditor_general.html#KbbfJ65OCH8owKzj.99

GOP Signals Cost Cuts Before Pennsylvania Driver Tax Boost

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I bet there are all kinds of cost cutting measures that could be utilized before screwing over the taxpayers!

HARRISBURG – Conservative state lawmakers who are wary about plans to raise taxes or fees to boost transportation spending raised the prospect Wednesday that they will insist first on major changes, such as abolishing the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, to make public money go further.

The House Republican majority will be under pressure in the 10 weeks before the Legislature departs Harrisburg for the summer to make the case against a massive transportation funding plan.  Supporting such plans are leading senators from both political parties, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and a slew of groups from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry to the AARP.

Even one member of the House Republican leadership acknowledged that there is tremendous pressure on the issue.

“I don’t think we thought there was going to be this much momentum for transportation,” said Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, the caucus secretary.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470679

Pennsylvania Senate Highways Plan Would Raise Gas Prices

Editor’s note:  Really!  Because gas prices aren’t high enough already???

HARRISBURG – Spending on Pennsylvania’s highways, bridges and mass transit systems would get a big shot of new funding under a Senate plan unveiled Tuesday that would raise the money by increasing motorist fees and wholesale gas taxes – bumping prices at the pump as much a quarter a gallon.

The $2.5 billion plan by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, is more ambitious and expensive than the proposal Gov. Tom Corbett advanced in January. The increase is nearly 50 percent of the $5.3 billion that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation currently spends on highways, bridges and transit.

Rafferty warned that the state’s bridges and highways are in dire need of repair, and contended that the plan would simply update taxes and fees to reflect inflation after going unchanged since at least the 1990s while giving the state’s economy a big boost.

“This is a sustainable funding plan,” Rafferty told reporters at a news conference where he was backed by dozens of supportive lawmakers and representatives of transportation-minded groups. “This is not a one-shot deal. This is a significant piece of change that will move Pennsylvania forward.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470435

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

Free Wi-Fi Now Available At All Pennsylvania Turnpike Service Plazas

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

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

Free Wi-Fi service is now available at all Pennsylvania Turnpike operational service plazas, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Friday in a news release.

Customers can access free Wi-Fi at the 15 operating service plazas.  Wi-Fi will be available at the two plazas closed for construction, South Midway in Bedford County and Highspire in Dauphin County, when they reopen in May, according to the release.

Read more:  http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_22619793/free-wi-fi-now-available-at-all-pennsylvania

Pa. Turnpike Approves Toll Hike

 

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

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

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has approved a toll hike for next year.

The commission says the increase means rates will be going up 10 percent for cash-paying customers and 2-percent for those who pay with E-ZPass. The agency says the hike will result in a toll-revenue growth of 3 percent.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=401999

Pennsylvania Turnpike Closed Between Harrisburg East And Reading Interchanges

Pennsylvania Turnpike Bristol/New Jersey Exten...

Image via Wikipedia

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has closed a 39-mile section of the toll road due to a bridge in Dauphin County being threatened by rising flood waters from the Swatara Creek.

To find out the suggested detour routes, click here: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/09/pennsylvania_turnpike_closes_a.html

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls To Increase Again In 2012

Pennsylvania Turnpike Bristol/New Jersey Exten...

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, you read that correctly.   The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is raising tolls 10 percent for cash paying customers in 2012.  The increase does not apply to E-Zpass customers.  Tolls increased in 2011 as well, 10 percent for cash payers and 3 percent for E-Zpass users.

This is the Turnpike Commissions way of gently urging everyone to use E-Zpass…

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission – Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Pennsylvania Turnpike Toll Ticket at Warrendal...

Image via Wikipedia

This is JUST unbelievable.  In an effort to “save money” our illustrious PA Turnpike Commission has voted to not print toll prices on tickets.  So starting next month, you won’t have any idea how much the tolls are unless you have them memorized!

Say you get on the turnpike at Morgantown and get off at Breezewood… no where on your ticket will the price be printed.  And we are supposed to “trust” that what ever amount some tells us is due is correct?????  WTH!

PA Auditor General Jack Wagner said he is appalled and feels this is bad judgement.  We AGREE 100%!!!!!  I think this opens the door for abuse!

These losers at the Turnpike Commission are raising the prices 10% for cash customers and 3% for E-ZPass users.  So we are paying more and getting less!

Turnpike Toll Collectors Poised To Become A Thing Of The Past

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Image via Wikipedia

Like State Store employees, PA Turnpike Toll Collectors have an uncertain future.  There is a proposal to make the Pennsylvania Turnpike all-electronic.  E-ZPass transponders and cameras may make humans obsolete on the turnpike.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is reviewing bids for a year-long study to make the 545 mile toll road automated.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette puts a human face on the story.  You can read it here: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10318/1103248-455.stm

Just Say No To Tolls On Interstate 80

The Federal Highway Administration has turned down Ed Rendell’s request to make Interstate 80 a toll road in Pennsylvania.  The road runs the entire length of Pennsylvania through rural counties with historically higher unemployment.

Rendell stated this was the third and last attempt by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to make I-80 a toll road.

We need some better “outside the box” solutions coming out of Harrisburg!