Bill for Turnpike Lobbying: $700,000

Joe Grata in the Post-Gazette with a look at the Turnpike Commission’s $700,000 in lobbying contracts for 2007 ($396,000 at the federal level and $316,000 for Harrisburg lobbyist – above and beyond their in-house lobbyists). The Commission’s defense:

Turnpike commission spokesman Bill Capone said what’s obvious are the results: $79.2 million in federal money for the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway in southwestern Pennsylvania; $76.3 million for a new turnpike/Interstate 95 interchange in the Philadelphia area; and $25.1 million for intelligent transportation systems statewide, such as changeable message signs and a special fog alert system on a mountainous stretch near Breezewood.

Yes, they think taxpayers should be glad that they are using toll monies to lobbying the federal government for more taxpayer funds.

Flashback: Way back in December 2006, the Turnpike Commission needed $2.4 Billion to finish the Mon-Fay expressway, and put the project on hold. But then in July 2007 they were able to promise area lawmakers they would finish Mon-Fayette if Act 44 was passed. Now that’s what I call extortion lobbying.

Pennsyltucky Politics has more on Turnpike lobbying. Capitol Ideas also has a blurb, along with a second blurb on potential lost revenue of a “non-foreign” Turnpike lease – also noting with apparent surprise – that the Commonwealth Foundation isn’t xenophobic. Note to Mr. Micek – in spite of what Bill George may say, we also oppose slavery.