Will latest toll hike force some Turnpike users off the road?

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The Turnpike Commission says complaints about the latest toll increase have been minimal.

Rates went up for the sixth year in a row on Sunday; 12 percent for cash users and two percent for EZ Pass users.

Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo says most Turnpike users have become accustomed to the annual increases. He says the increase is needed to meet the Turnpike's operating budget and to cover the $450 million the commission is required to pay PennDOT to fund other roads and transit systems in Pa.

He doesn't expect a decrease in the number of cars using the Turnpike, although he said there could be a temporary altering of usage.

“Rather than getting on and going three exits, they'll get on and go one or two,” he said. “That type of behavior has been commonplace.”

Reaction was mixed among drivers we sampled at one of the service plazas.

“We don't even notice it,” said Fritz Kriete of Susquehanna Township, who is an EZ Pass user. “We put money in the account and it gets charged and probably won't even notice it to be honest with you.”

“You know it really doesn't bother me,” said David Shifflet of Norristown. “As long as the money goes to what it's supposed to go to. If it goes to fixing roads and fixing bridges like it's supposed to, I don't have a problem with it.”

But Lance Gelnett of Mechanicsburg was disappointed.

“Seems to be going up year in, year out. And it's been frustrating for us who have been riding the Turnpike for a long time,” he said.

Has it made him think about finding an alterative route?

“No other routes. This is it. Turnpike's all we got…unfortunately.”

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