The measure, effective Jan. 1, 2012, is expected to generate approximately $23 million in new revenue for calendar-year 2012. It includes a 10-percent toll increase for cash-paying customers but no rate increase for those who pay with E-ZPass.
The increase will be applied to all vehicle classes on all turnpike sections except the Southern Beltway (Turnpike 576) in Allegheny and Washington counties, where rates will stay unchanged. With the new rates, the most-common cash toll for a standard commercial-truck classification (Class 5) will rise from $8.95 to $9.85.
In light of the steeper E-ZPass discounts, the commission also approved changes to its commercial volume-discount program starting next year. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the 15% volume discount will be eliminated, since all commercial carriers with E-ZPass will automatically receive an approximate 17% discount. As a result, post-paid commercial E-ZPass customers will need to incur $5,000.00 to $10,000 of monthly tolls to receive an additional 5% discount and $10,000.01 or more to receive an additional 10% discount.
New revenue will be allocated to fund debt-service costs associated with the Turnpike Commission's funding obligation of $450 million per year to the commonwealth stemming from a 2007 state law. None of the increase is to pay for an enhanced capital-spending plan for the Turnpike which was approved by the commission in June.
In addition to the 2012 toll increase, the commission also approved overall toll-revenue increases of 3% for 2013 and 2014, though it did not specify precisely how much rates would increase for cash and E-ZPass customers in those years.