UPDATE: Monday, November 5, 2012
Nothing’s really free when it comes to driving. Turnpike customers foot the bills, paying their way with each toll. Tax dollars pay for all other roads, so you’re going to pay one way or the other.
The Kansas Turnpike Authority will raise rates by 10 percent for cash-paying customers. At first blush, some drivers feel the hike is steep.
The last KTA rate increase was in 2009.
The head of the turnpike authority says the rate increase will help pay the turnpike authority's ongoing efforts at replacing or repairing the bridge deckings. The KTA has about 350 bridges along its 236-mile route.
"Toward the end of this decade, we've got a number of bridge decks that we'll need to replace,” said KTA President and CEO Michael Johnston. “So, little by little, we're saving and trying to reserve money so that when we get to that point in time, hopefully we'll have money in the bank and won't have to borrow."
That expansion helps some drivers swallow the hike a little better – but not all.
"Well it's a good highway and if they want to keep it up, then I guess, they ought to raise it then to keep the roads from having a lot of pot holes for our cars to drive through and our cars will last longer," said KTA driver Wendy Vollmer.
KTA driver Jeff Young said, "I believe if they're going to keep the maintenance up and keep them smooth where it doesn't bounce you out of your truck, then I believe it's alright."
Other drivers say the hike is too much in this economy.
"This is not a good time to do it,” said John Chevalier. ”Especially when it's like a depression and a lot of people are out of work."
Here’s how we can avoid the 10 percent hike and only incur a 5 percent hike: get a K-TAG. K-TAG users and commercial truckers will only see a 5 percent rate hike. The KTA says it costs them less when customers pay electronically, so K-TAG increases will be less.
Monday, November 5, 2012
If you drive the Kansas Turnpike, look for tolls to increase early next year.
The Kansas Turnpike Authority approved the increase Monday, which will go into effect on February 1st.
Cash rates for cars and light trucks with two to four axles is expected to go up about 10 percent. Drivers with K-TAGs will only see a five percent increase.
For larger vehicles with five to nine axles, tolls will increase about five percent for both cash and K-TAG.
The KTA says the increase will help pay for future capital needs, including deck replacement on various bridges.
Tolls typically increase every three years on the turnpike, which spans 236 miles from the Oklahoma border to Kansas City.