Turnpike Commission Family Tree has Deep Roots

AUGUST 28, 2008 | News Release by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Commonwealth Foundation provides visuals of the power, patronage and politics of the PTC

HARRISBURG, PA — As Pennsylvania policymakers await a decision from the Federal Highway Administration about the Turnpike Commission’s request to toll Interstate 80, the Commonwealth Foundation released a new video and visual aid highlighting the Turnpike Commission’s patronage, nepotism, and cronyism.
 
“Much has been written about the corruption, scandal, and abuses of the Turnpike Commission,” said Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation.  “But the full-length books, news articles, and editorials have not given the public a visual of just how bad things are at the Commission.  So our ‘Pennsylvania Turnpike Family Tree’ gives the public a real look at the patronage, nepotism, and cronyism at the Turnpike Commission.”
 
“We’ve only scratched the surface.  Indeed, because of repeated denials by the Commission of critical information we’ve requested under the Right to Know Act, we really can’t expose all of the abuses and misuses of our toll dollars,” said Brouillette.
 
The Commonwealth Foundation said this information is important to communicate to policymakers, opinion makers, and the general public because, under Act 44 of 2007, the Turnpike Commission became the primary funder of Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure for decades to come.
 
“In a moment of weakness, the General Assembly and Governor gave into the lobbying efforts of the Turnpike Commission and made a huge error in making the Commonwealth dependent on the Turnpike Commission’s massive new bonded debt and tolling its way out of it in perpetuity,” said Brouillette.
 
“The good news is that it is not too late to reverse directions and eliminate the Turnpike Commission altogether,” Brouillette noted while alluding to a lease of the Turnpike to the Pennsylvania Transportation Partners for $12.8 billion.  “With the patron saints Bob Jubelirer and Vince Fumo finally gone from their positions of power, we can finally put the Commission out of the business of lining the pockets of politically connected and selected friends and family.”
 
The video and poster of “The Pennsylvania Family Tree” can be viewed at TurnpikeFacts.com.

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TurnpikeFacts.com is an educational project of the Commonwealth Foundation designed to help educate and inform citizens about the costs, benefits, and potential pitfalls of leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.



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