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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In 2019, you’ll be paying more to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The 6 percent toll increase takes effect for both cash and E-Z Pass customers on Jan. 6.
If you find yourself driving the Turnpike, this 6 percent fare increase applies to everyone — cars and trucks — and everywhere, including all turnpike extensions.
The Turnpike commission says the increase is needed to make the roadways smoother and safer, but the governor says it’s just too expensive.
Fare increases on the 552 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike begin promptly 12:01 a.m. Jan. 6, 2019.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says the increased fares are needed due in part because the tollway is 78 years old.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf disagrees with the decision, saying the Turnpike Commission has raised tolls for 11 straight years and it’s too costly of a burden on drivers and companies who use the turnpike.
“It’s unsustainable. People using the turnpike are paying too much,” Wolf said.
But the Turnpike Commissions says they are obligated to the increase because of a 2007 state law known as ACT 44. Under that law, the Turnpike Commission is obligated to PennDOT toll-backed funding projects.
Additionally, the Turnpike Commission has reconstructed more than 132 miles of its system and there are another 19 miles being rebuilt and widened and another 82 miles currently in planning phases.
Governor Wolf disagrees, saying this appropriation of Turnpike money doesn’t work.
“The Turnpike really is driving business away. It is transferring money to highways and construction outside the Turnpike, which was the idea, but it is just too expensive for the Turnpike and the Turnpike customers,” Wolf said.
The PTC wants users to know, it does not receive tax appropriations to operate and maintain its roadways.
Last year, more than 200 million vehicles traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike.