HARRISBURG - Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike soon will have an incentive to use E-ZPass under a new toll schedule that sets higher rates for people who pay with cash.
The Turnpike Commission voted Tuesday to increase rates 10 percent for cash customers but 3 percent for E-ZPass users, or about two-thirds of all turnpike vehicles.
When the rates take effect Jan. 2, it will be the first time that E-ZPass users will pay less than others.
The turnpike has increased rates seven times in 70 years, including twice in the last year and a half. Tolls rose 3 percent at the start of this year after rising 25 percent in January 2009. The higher fees will produce an estimated $35 million a year.
Annual toll increases were called for in a 2007 state law that dedicated billions to pay for state roadwork and bridge repair, and authorized tolls for I-80. Federal regulators rejected the I-80 plan.
Under that law, Act 44, the turnpike must provide $450 million a year to the state government for the next 47 years.
"I want to make it clear to our customers and to all Pennsylvanians that we've done our best to streamline operations and become more efficient, especially after the economic downturn," turnpike chief executive Joe Brimmeier said in a written statement.