What bid? That’s ridiculous!

Apparently Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier was surprised to learn from the Pittsuburgh Post-Gazette that he had submitted a bid on to operate the Turnpike.

Well, it’s not a real bid (he got to “lease” it without having to compete with other potential operators), but an effective “bid” through Act 44 which will require the Commission to pay the state only $450 million per year if the Commission only gets to toll the existing Turnpike (and tolling of Interstate 80 is denied).

Of course, the only response Joe can come up with against the paltry $5.3 billion the Turnpike is effectively paying the state for its “lease” is

“This is nothing more than another attempt by a special-interest group to make a case for private interests who want to take over a public road. What do they want to take over next? The Liberty Bell?”

Good one, Joe!

Also, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review picked up the story and quotes Rep. Joe Markosek, the chief water-carrier for the Turnpike Commission (Question: Does he technically have to register as a lobbyist for the PTC?), and he uncovered and revealed our masterminded ploy…

“It kind of indicates to me that they don’t think the bids are going to come in anywhere near the $25 billion to $30 billion they first talked about,” he said. “They’re trying to make it sound like $10 billion to $12 billion are going to be good bids.”

Well, you’re right, Joe, we don’t believe the bids will be that high for many reasons, but at least we do know what a steal the Turnpike Commission got with an effective bid of only $5.3 billion under your leadership in passing Act 44 of 2007.