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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 601748 times)

Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2450 on: June 03, 2020, 05:33:51 AM »

Statement from the PTC regarding the immediate change to permanent AET:

https://www.paturnpike.com/press/2020/20200602154151.htm

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ekt8750

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2451 on: June 03, 2020, 11:27:58 AM »

Statement from the PTC regarding the immediate change to permanent AET:

https://www.paturnpike.com/press/2020/20200602154151.htm

I think this comes as a surprise to no one.
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jmacswimmer

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2452 on: June 03, 2020, 11:52:21 AM »

Statement from the PTC regarding the immediate change to permanent AET:

https://www.paturnpike.com/press/2020/20200602154151.htm

I think this comes as a surprise to no one.

I wonder if any other toll agencies will end up taking this route.  DelDOT, NJTA, & the various Delaware River agencies have all resumed cash collection, but I know MDTA has not (and has already removed 3 of its 7 toll plazas within the past year and replaced with AET gantries).  Maybe PANYNJ too?
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vdeane

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2453 on: June 03, 2020, 02:01:21 PM »

The Thruway is resuming regular toll collection tonight at midnight, so they will not be on the list of toll agencies permanently retaining their emergency procedure.
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SignBridge

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2454 on: June 03, 2020, 08:47:08 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
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vdeane

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2455 on: June 03, 2020, 09:16:12 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
NYSTA didn't go full all-electronic anyways.  They still had people in the exit booths to collect a person's licence plate and entry location so they can be billed during the emergency toll procedures.  I think the career toll takers are already gone, anyways - what's left is part-time temps who can keep the booths staffed before they go all-electronic later this year.
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2456 on: June 04, 2020, 09:20:54 AM »

According to the No Cash Zone site, the Mon-Fayette has also gone cashless, effective immediately.

https://www.nocashzone.com/
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Hwy 61 Revisited

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2457 on: June 04, 2020, 01:17:15 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
NYSTA didn't go full all-electronic anyways.  They still had people in the exit booths to collect a person's licence plate and entry location so they can be billed during the emergency toll procedures.  I think the career toll takers are already gone, anyways - what's left is part-time temps who can keep the booths staffed before they go all-electronic later this year.
I would suggest that they adopt mainline tolling sometime though.
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vdeane

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2458 on: June 04, 2020, 01:31:29 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
NYSTA didn't go full all-electronic anyways.  They still had people in the exit booths to collect a person's licence plate and entry location so they can be billed during the emergency toll procedures.  I think the career toll takers are already gone, anyways - what's left is part-time temps who can keep the booths staffed before they go all-electronic later this year.
I would suggest that they adopt mainline tolling sometime though.
That's what I said.  The conversion project is ongoing.  Many of the gantries are already up.  NYSTA is not the PTC or MTA.
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74/171FAN

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2459 on: June 04, 2020, 01:58:36 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
NYSTA didn't go full all-electronic anyways.  They still had people in the exit booths to collect a person's licence plate and entry location so they can be billed during the emergency toll procedures.  I think the career toll takers are already gone, anyways - what's left is part-time temps who can keep the booths staffed before they go all-electronic later this year.
I would suggest that they adopt mainline tolling sometime though.
That's what I said.  The conversion project is ongoing.  Many of the gantries are already up.  NYSTA is not the PTC or MTA.

The big question right now is when the PTC will have enough money to even consider putting up gantries across the rest of the system.
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Bitmapped

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2460 on: June 04, 2020, 02:53:21 PM »

According to the No Cash Zone site, the Mon-Fayette has also gone cashless, effective immediately.

https://www.nocashzone.com/

Earlier, the Mon-Fayette was still taking cash since it has automated payment machines so there was no interaction with attendants.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2461 on: June 04, 2020, 09:05:59 PM »

The big question right now is when the PTC will have enough money to even consider putting up gantries across the rest of the system.

If I remember correctly the original goal was to have gantries up east of Harrisburg and along the Northeast Extension by 2022, and the rest of the mainline by 2024. The PTC did announce a while ago a delay with that timeline, but I wonder if they'll try to speed things up again since the Turnpike is permanently cashless over a year earlier than anticipated.  It's entirely possible that we could be talking about still-existent (but useless) tollbooths on the PA Turnpike in 2030!
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2462 on: June 04, 2020, 10:48:42 PM »

Nice to hear that unlike the Penn. Turnpike Commission, the NYSTA will not be throwing hundreds of employees out the door onto the unemployment line during a period of record high unemployment.
NYSTA didn't go full all-electronic anyways.  They still had people in the exit booths to collect a person's licence plate and entry location so they can be billed during the emergency toll procedures.  I think the career toll takers are already gone, anyways - what's left is part-time temps who can keep the booths staffed before they go all-electronic later this year.
I would suggest that they adopt mainline tolling sometime though.
That's what I said.  The conversion project is ongoing.  Many of the gantries are already up.  NYSTA is not the PTC or MTA.

The big question right now is when the PTC will have enough money to even consider putting up gantries across the rest of the system.

They have money for projects. They just have to decide which projects they keep and which ones they delay.
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74/171FAN

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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2464 on: June 12, 2020, 09:41:46 PM »

Also buried in a release about the rating of the Turnpike's debt is bad news about a likely double whammy of toll increases this year.  Because of COVID, the next 6% increase may be effective in October instead of January 2021.  This is on top of the 6% increase in January. 

Also, toll-by-plate rates would jump (another?) 45% to account for cashless tolling (effectively creating a 2x spread between E-ZPass and toll-by-plate rates).  Effectively, a cross state toll (Pittsburgh to Valley Forge) without E-ZPass could cost $64 one-way.

https://www.fitchratings.com/research/infrastructure-project-finance/fitch-rates-penn-turnpike-sen-rev-bonds-2nd-ser-of-2020-a-affirms-outstanding-bonds-12-06-2020

Quote
PTC is considering enacting several measures to mitigate the revenue loss due to self-quarantine orders during the coronavirus pandemic. The Commission plans to bring forward the planned January 2021 toll increase to October 2020, increase the magnitude from 5% to 6%, and include a 45% surcharge for toll by plate customers, making toll by plate rates approximately double E-ZPass rates. The proposed additional surcharge for toll by plate customers accounts for the increased processing costs associated with this collection method and the increase of toll by plate transactions due to the switch to AET

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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2465 on: June 14, 2020, 11:04:47 AM »

Also buried in a release about the rating of the Turnpike's debt is bad news about a likely double whammy of toll increases this year.  Because of COVID, the next 6% increase may be effective in October instead of January 2021.  This is on top of the 6% increase in January. 

Also, toll-by-plate rates would jump (another?) 45% to account for cashless tolling (effectively creating a 2x spread between E-ZPass and toll-by-plate rates).  Effectively, a cross state toll (Pittsburgh to Valley Forge) without E-ZPass could cost $64 one-way.

https://www.fitchratings.com/research/infrastructure-project-finance/fitch-rates-penn-turnpike-sen-rev-bonds-2nd-ser-of-2020-a-affirms-outstanding-bonds-12-06-202

At some point the seemingly endless stream of cash from PTC to Pennsylvania transit agencies is going to cause something to break.  Either the PTC will not be able to issue more debt because questions will arise about its ability to pay it back (perhaps due to a crash in revenue-paying traffic), or maybe there will be a voter revolt against the ever-higher tolls to subsidize transit projects that have nothing to do with the Turnpike. 

Or maybe something else.  But I do not think the Act 44/Act 89 payments will continue forever.

Get a 404 on that link. This seems to work: https://www.fitchratings.com/research/infrastructure-project-finance/fitch-rates-penn-turnpike-sen-rev-bonds-2nd-ser-of-2020-a-affirms-outstanding-bonds-12-06-2020
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 11:12:43 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Bitmapped

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2466 on: June 15, 2020, 08:41:45 AM »

At some point the seemingly endless stream of cash from PTC to Pennsylvania transit agencies is going to cause something to break.  Either the PTC will not be able to issue more debt because questions will arise about its ability to pay it back (perhaps due to a crash in revenue-paying traffic), or maybe there will be a voter revolt against the ever-higher tolls to subsidize transit projects that have nothing to do with the Turnpike. 

Or maybe something else.  But I do not think the Act 44/Act 89 payments will continue forever.

The PA General Assembly went with payments from the Turnpike specifically because they were trying to avoid the voters by increasing other taxes and fees. Tapping out the PTC money machine might stop the payments, but I don't think concerns regarding voters will.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2467 on: June 16, 2020, 09:10:08 AM »

At some point the seemingly endless stream of cash from PTC to Pennsylvania transit agencies is going to cause something to break.  Either the PTC will not be able to issue more debt because questions will arise about its ability to pay it back (perhaps due to a crash in revenue-paying traffic), or maybe there will be a voter revolt against the ever-higher tolls to subsidize transit projects that have nothing to do with the Turnpike. 

Or maybe something else.  But I do not think the Act 44/Act 89 payments will continue forever.

The PA General Assembly went with payments from the Turnpike specifically because they were trying to avoid the voters by increasing other taxes and fees. Tapping out the PTC money machine might stop the payments, but I don't think concerns regarding voters will.

My cynical view agrees with you. In spite of claims from transit advocates, transit subsidy funding is not especially popular with the elected officials that have to come up with the dollars to pay for it.  If the politicians can come up with ways to make other people make the subsidy payments (and the Pennsylvania Turnpike does carry a lot of out-of-state traffic) then clearly they will do that. The scheme to toll I-80 was also about getting those subsidies from Other People.  The originator of Act 44, disgraced state ex-Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) clearly understood this.

Other popular ways of getting subsidy payments from out-of-state people include taxes on rental cars and bed taxes on hotels and other lodging (these are taxes on people that generally do not place much demand on government services in the places they are visiting). Transit promoters will often suggest these as "painless" ways to pay for expensive (to build and to operate) passenger rail projects.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 09:13:48 AM by cpzilliacus »
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2468 on: June 16, 2020, 10:51:34 AM »

At some point the seemingly endless stream of cash from PTC to Pennsylvania transit agencies is going to cause something to break.  Either the PTC will not be able to issue more debt because questions will arise about its ability to pay it back (perhaps due to a crash in revenue-paying traffic), or maybe there will be a voter revolt against the ever-higher tolls to subsidize transit projects that have nothing to do with the Turnpike. 

Or maybe something else.  But I do not think the Act 44/Act 89 payments will continue forever.

The PA General Assembly went with payments from the Turnpike specifically because they were trying to avoid the voters by increasing other taxes and fees. Tapping out the PTC money machine might stop the payments, but I don't think concerns regarding voters will.

My cynical view agrees with you. In spite of claims from transit advocates, transit subsidy funding is not especially popular with the elected officials that have to come up with the dollars to pay for it.  If the politicians can come up with ways to make other people make the subsidy payments (and the Pennsylvania Turnpike does carry a lot of out-of-state traffic) then clearly they will do that. The scheme to toll I-80 was also about getting those subsidies from Other People.  The originator of Act 44, disgraced state ex-Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) clearly understood this.

Other popular ways of getting subsidy payments from out-of-state people include taxes on rental cars and bed taxes on hotels and other lodging (these are taxes on people that generally do not place much demand on government services in the places they are visiting). Transit promoters will often suggest these as "painless" ways to pay for expensive (to build and to operate) passenger rail projects.

It doesn't help when goods have to be shipped using the Turnpike or businesses have to use it between job sites.  The Philly area also has significant commuter traffic on the Turnpike.  Traveling across state by car to visit family is costing me well over $100 round trip now.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2469 on: June 16, 2020, 11:04:22 AM »

It doesn't help when goods have to be shipped using the Turnpike or businesses have to use it between job sites.  The Philly area also has significant commuter traffic on the Turnpike.  Traveling across state by car to visit family is costing me well over $100 round trip now.

You have an excellent point. 

I think the powers-that-be in the Pennsylvania legislature are so would up in getting large amounts of subsidy dollars to SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County (and the smaller Pennsylvania transit operators) that they lose sight of the human impact of these jumbo-sized tolls on people that live inside and outside Pennsylvania. 

And if all that money was going to things like Turnpike widenings and repair and rehabilitation of the PTC's many tunnels, it might be less painful.  But pouring it down the black hole of transit subsidies means most Turnpike patrons never see the impact of that money.

In a fictional world the subsidies from Pennsylvania Turnpike customers would end and the cost of subsidizing transit would be shifted to higher taxes on motor fuels in the counties served by those transit agencies.  Of course, even if that were happen today, the bonds sold by the PTC to make those black hole payments would still be on the books, and they will take decades to amortize down to zero, so tolls on Turnpike patrons are not going to be lower anytime soon.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2470 on: June 16, 2020, 08:54:17 PM »

It doesn't help when goods have to be shipped using the Turnpike or businesses have to use it between job sites.  The Philly area also has significant commuter traffic on the Turnpike.  Traveling across state by car to visit family is costing me well over $100 round trip now.

You have an excellent point. 

I think the powers-that-be in the Pennsylvania legislature are so would up in getting large amounts of subsidy dollars to SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County (and the smaller Pennsylvania transit operators) that they lose sight of the human impact of these jumbo-sized tolls on people that live inside and outside Pennsylvania. 

And if all that money was going to things like Turnpike widenings and repair and rehabilitation of the PTC's many tunnels, it might be less painful.  But pouring it down the black hole of transit subsidies means most Turnpike patrons never see the impact of that money.

In a fictional world the subsidies from Pennsylvania Turnpike customers would end and the cost of subsidizing transit would be shifted to higher taxes on motor fuels in the counties served by those transit agencies.  Of course, even if that were happen today, the bonds sold by the PTC to make those black hole payments would still be on the books, and they will take decades to amortize down to zero, so tolls on Turnpike patrons are not going to be lower anytime soon.

The good news is that, unless something changes, FY 2022 is the last year that the PTC will owe $450 million to PennDOT.  Starting in FY 2023 that payment goes down to $50 million. Of course the debt from over a decade of excessive Act 44 payments will take much longer to be paid off...

Finding funding for mass transit is more complex in PA than simply raising the gas tax, and is partly the reason for Act 44 in the first place. In PA, gas taxes, car registration fees, and some other funding sources are constitutionally limited to roads and cannot be used for transit. So, even if a regional gas tax were implemented (which would be a hard sell in a state with the second-highest gas taxes to begin with), those revenues would only be able to go to roads. Act 89 (which partially sunsets the Act 44 transfers in 2022) will use motor vehicle sales taxes to make up the $400 million that the Turnpike will no longer provide. Those are revenues that may need to be made up elsewhere i.e. higher taxes...
 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2471 on: June 16, 2020, 09:14:10 PM »

The good news is that, unless something changes, FY 2022 is the last year that the PTC will owe $450 million to PennDOT.  Starting in FY 2023 that payment goes down to $50 million. Of course the debt from over a decade of excessive Act 44 payments will take much longer to be paid off...

I think that is correct on all points.

Finding funding for mass transit is more complex in PA than simply raising the gas tax, and is partly the reason for Act 44 in the first place. In PA, gas taxes, car registration fees, and some other funding sources are constitutionally limited to roads and cannot be used for transit. So, even if a regional gas tax were implemented (which would be a hard sell in a state with the second-highest gas taxes to begin with), those revenues would only be able to go to roads. Act 89 (which partially sunsets the Act 44 transfers in 2022) will use motor vehicle sales taxes to make up the $400 million that the Turnpike will no longer provide. Those are revenues that may need to be made up elsewhere i.e. higher taxes...

My understanding from a friend who is a transit geek (especially SEPTA) is that the prohibition on diversion of fuel taxes away from highways applies to taxes collected at the retail level (pump), but that the prohibition does not apply to taxes collected at the wholesale level.

Virginia passed a large increase in the Commonwealth's motor fuel tax and imposed all of it at the wholesale level for similar  reasons.
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roadman65

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2472 on: June 16, 2020, 11:37:35 PM »

Are all the guide signs  at ramps now going to be purple like PA 903 in Carbon County at the AET interchange there?
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2473 on: June 17, 2020, 01:15:54 AM »

Are all the guide signs  at ramps now going to be purple like PA 903 in Carbon County at the AET interchange there?
No.

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2474 on: June 17, 2020, 01:59:54 AM »

Well I would think not as that would be an expensive undertaking, but will they change the PA 903 entrance signs to standard green as those ramps will no longer be exclusive to AET (or at least one of the few) around. 

Exit 31 A & B Northbound on the NE Extension can now be consolidated back to a single exit once again as well.

Biggest thing is Texas did all purple in Harris County on one toll road and looks like Disney, glad to see PennDOT not doing what they did there.  As crazy as it sounds for this Turnpike System, if one toll road agency has done it who is to say that someone else cannot be as crazy.
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