Turnpike nixes idea of a joint contract for tunnel upgrades to avoid borrowing more money

Ed Blazina | Monday, April 22, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Turnpike won’t bundle the rehabilitation of five tunnels under one contract because it shouldn’t borrow the upfront money it would need for the project.

That’s the conclusion turnpike chief engineer Brad Heigel announced last week in a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships. Although the project has “definite, tangible merits,” Mr. Heigel said, the agency isn’t in a position to borrow up to $350 million it could take to fund the project and doesn’t want to defer other work in favor of the tunnels.

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Judge rejects lawsuit over Pa. Turnpike toll hikes

Marc Levy | Thursday, April 4, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

HARRISBURG — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit over Pennsylvania Turnpike toll increases to help fund the state’s transit agencies, saying Thursday that a truckers’ organization didn’t show the scheme violates constitutional protections over commerce and travel between states.

The 56-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane elicited a sign of relief from a number of quarters in Pennsylvania state government, as well as from transit agencies whose payments had been held up during the lawsuit.

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Another report calls state levies on Pennsylvania Turnpike unsustainable

Deb Erdley | Monday April 1, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A coalition of transportation agencies Monday issued the latest alert on a looming transportation crisis, driven in part by the law that ordered the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to send $450 million a year to PennDOT.

The Southeast Partnership for Mobility, which includes the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PennDOT, weighed in with a report labeling the state’s transportation funding system unsustainable.

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Pennsylvania Turnpike to raise tolls 6 percent again in January

Ed Blazina | Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

To Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, the state Turnpike Commission’s decision Tuesday to raise tolls for the 11th year in a row highlights a fundamental mistake the state made more than 10 years ago.

Beginning Jan. 6, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.30 to $1.38 for E-ZPass customers; from $2.10 to $2.25 for cash customers; and from $6.75 to $7.20 for Toll By Plate. For Class-5 tractor-trailer trucks, the fee for the most common tolls will increase from $3.45 to $3.66 for E-ZPass and from $15.35 to $16.30 for cash.

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For Pennsylvania Turnpike’s emergency call boxes, it’s the end of the road

Ed Blazina | Monday, September 11, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Relics of a time before cell phones, about 1,000 emergency call boxes along the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be removed from the side of the toll road beginning this week.

The bright yellow boxes, located about a mile apart on the 550-mile turnpike, were installed in 1988 to give motorists a way to call for help if they had an emergency. They connect directly to the turnpike’s Traffic Operations Center in Highspire, where dispatchers can send help.

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Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls to rise 6 percent again next year

Ed Blazini | Tuesday, July 18, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will raise tolls for cash customers and E-ZPass users another 6 percent in January, the 10th year in a row fees have increased for the interstate.

The turnpike commission voted, 5-0, Tuesday to increase the tolls beginning Jan. 7. The most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase next year from $1.23 to $1.30 for E-ZPass customers and from $1.95 to $2.10 for cash customers.

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Do you have outstanding PA Turnpike toll violations?

If you have unpaid PA Turnpike toll violations you are risking suspension of your vehicle registration. A new law (Act 165 of 2016) taking effect August 4th of 2017 allows the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to suspend the vehicle registration of any Pennsylvania motorist who has PA toll violations (including tolls and fees) totaling $500 or more or 6 or more separate instances of violation.

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