It’s a familiar headline. Rates for using the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be increasing again for next year.

All motorists will see a 5 percent toll hike for 2022. This applies to both E-ZPass users and drivers still using Toll By Plate.

The cost of using the PA Turnpike has gone up for 14 years straight. But there is a silver lining; it’s the smallest increase in quite some time.

Carl DeFebo, Turnpike Director of Public Relations and Marketing, says it’s the first time in six years the price increase has stayed below 6 percent. And while the price of using the Turnpike will continue to go up each year, the rate of increase should get smaller over time.

The plan is to get down to a 4 percent increase in 2026, according to DeFebo. By 2028, the increase will be 3 percent for the foreseeable future.

“The Turnpike’s funding obligation this year drops from $450 million to the Commonwealth of PA to $50 million,” said DeFebo. “So later this month the Turnpike Commission is going to be making its last $450 million payment. And then we’ll be paying just $50 million a year. That’s certainly one of the reasons why the Turnpike is able to begin to reduce the rates of increase.”

Meantime, traffic on the Turnpike is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Average vehicle numbers recently reached just 10 percent below 2019 traffic volume numbers.

“The recovery is occurring a lot quicker than we had hoped,” said DeFebo. “And that’s great news. This summer it seems more and more people have chosen to take road trips.”