Pennsylvania Turnpike plans to raise tolls again after laying off 500 tollbooth workers

Kristen Walters

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to raise tolls again soon, despite the fact that they recently laid off more than 500 toll booth workers and are ahead on revenues for 2022.

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On Tuesday, May 2, 2022, the PA Turnpike Commission met to discuss and approve their operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. During the meeting, plans for raising tolls for those who drive on the turnpike were also discussed.

The proposed increase would raise tolls by 5 percent starting in 2023.

However, according to Richard Dreher, the Commission's chief financial officer, the agency is actually "ahead on revenues with $250 million left to spend in fiscal year 2022."

In 2020, the decision was made to permanently lay off more than 500 state employees who worked as toll collectors along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Most of those layoffs were completed in 2021.

To replace its laid-off workers, the PA Turnpike Commission installed a "cashless all-electric tolling system" to allegedly help reduce the spread of viruses and diseases.

In 2020, traffic on the PA Turnpike plummeted nearly 50 percent from the year prior, causing the Turnpike Commission to lose more than $100 million in revenue that year. At the time, the Commission was able to cope with the loss in revenue by cutting spending, reducing operating expenses, and instituting a hiring freeze.

Now, the Turnpike Commission is looking to make up for some of that lost income by raising toll rates for travelers again within the next year.

Do you agree that tolls should be raised again?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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