Turnpike Lease Bids Due April 30

Governor Rendell has announced that bids for leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be due at or near the end of April. He also announced many of the terms that a lease agreement will entail:

  • Capital Projects: The operator would have to fund all projects currently in the Turnpike Commission’s plan.
  • Current Employees: The private operator will have to honor existing labor contracts and provide equivalent compensation to current employees covered under those agreements.
  • Fee: $100 million fee just to bid. Rendell’s office anticipates around $16 billion in up-front payment for lease
  • Length: 75 years
  • Toll Rate Caps: Tolls will increase by 25% in 2009 (same as under Act 44) with annual increases caped of the greater of 2.5% or CPI change.

    Depending on CPI, this could be lower or slightly higher than the Turnpike Commission is currently promising, though it is a hard cap (Act 44 contains no cap), is lower than leases in Indiana and Chicago (allowed for an increase up to GDP growth), and doesn’t require the private operate to increase tolls by that amount.

  • I-80: The plan to toll I-80 would be scrapped.

Toll Roads News has a longer summary, along with the six-page summary from the administration.

Also see media coverage in the Patriot News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Post-Gazette, and Forbes.