It will cost more to drive in Pennsylvania this year

    The biggest change coming out of PennDOT in 2017 is a significant hike to gas taxes. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

    The biggest change coming out of PennDOT in 2017 is a significant hike to gas taxes. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

    The beginning of the New Year is bringing with it a slew of changes for motorists in Pennsylvania — and many of those changes will affect drivers’ wallets.

    The biggest change coming out of the state Department of Transportation in 2017 is a significant hike to gas taxes.

    Many Pennsylvanians may already have heard about the change — it’s the third and final step-increase planned under 2013’s Act 89. It’ll raise the tax rate by about 8 cents, to 58 cents per gallon.

    Even without the increase, Pennsylvania’s gas taxes are already the highest in the country.

    PennDOT is also overseeing an array of smaller changes. It’s getting rid of license plate registration stickers in favor of “automated license plate readers.” Licensing and vehicle fees may also increase.

    Spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trassat said all of these moves are aimed at drumming up revenue for upkeep of the system.

    “In Pennsylvania, PennDOT is responsible for roughly the same amount of miles as all of New England, New York, and New Jersey combined,” she said.

    Additional changes are coming from the State Turnpike Commission, which is separate from PennDOT. It’s raising tolls by 6 percent. Prices increased by that margin in 2016 as well.

    A spokesman said that revenue will pay into a 10-year spending plan for reconstruction and improvement projects.

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