PA Turnpike toll hike

PA Turnpike toll hike impact on Real Estate

The PA Turnpike toll hike – toll fares up 6%  in 2018

It’s become customary to find yourself paying more for the same every year with the PA Turnpike. Back in July 2017, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) took it upon themselves to increase yet again the rate for travelers on the PA Turnpike. The new PA Turnpike toll hike is set to take effect Jan. 7, 2018 @ 12:01 AM and will have a longer term impact on real estate.

New 2018 PA Turnpike Toll HikeWhy 2018 is so important is due to the commission approving a rate hike not only in 2018 but EVERY YEAR for the next 27 years. That’s right – 27 MORE YEARS of increasing fares – through the year 2044. The PA Turnpike Fare Hike is not only to pay for maintenance and subsidize mass transit, but pay interest on more than $11 billion in toll-revenue bonds financing previous payments for road maintenance and mass transit. The debt the state is carrying created a need to fund increasing debt service levels.

Yet in the region, as the new PA Turnpike rate increase hits the wallets of consumers, it also hits impacts truck travel through the state. The PA Turnpike traffic levels only grew 0.3 percent over the last year – well below the Federal Highway Administration’s national average of 1.79%. This has also created increased competition and use of free PA interstate highways such as RT I-80 that runs across the northern part of the state and for region roads including I-78 and I-81. In the Lehigh Valley alone, there’s great competition for warehouse space from Advance Auto, Amazon, Uline, Walmart and dozens of other companies. There’s also a bid fora Lehigh Valley Amazon HQ2 that is expected to be announced this year with Bethlehem in the running alongside Philadelphia.

What the free interstate competition creates are the following scenarios that impact real estate buyers in the Philadelphia region:

1) The yearly new PA Turnpike toll hike impacts the commenting budget for homeowners in the Delaware and Lehigh Valley.
2) The increase in transportation also impacts the costs of goods & services putting a further dent into homeowners and renters budgets.
3) The increase traffic on free interstates creates more traffic and congestion, increasing travel time to work.
4) The increase in suburban traffic and congestion will also lead to higher use of public transportation and help fuel migration back into the cities including Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton.
5) Transportation concerns by a home buyer are top on their list of issues they consider when buying a home including the location of their home (proximity to work) and what they can afford (their budget).

“Rail and bus rapid transit provide all kinds of benefits—reduced cost, time, and stress for commuters; cleaner air; more walkable neighborhoods—that can be translated into dollars and factored into property values.” Transport Reviews

These trends will impact home pricing / property prices and availability in the next decade throughout the region. Any new PA Turnpike toll hike and toll fare increase does more than fund debt and repairs of the roads. It also has a direct impact on homeowners alike.

There will be no 2018 increase for E-ZPass or Toll By Plate customers at the Delaware River Bridge westbound cashless tolling point in Bucks County. January 17, 2018

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