Turnpike lease “winning” bid to be announced next week

Governor Rendell held a press conference to announce the “winning bid” on the Pennsylvania Turnpike lease will likely be presented next Monday. Rendell also stated:

  • Bids were within 10% of each other, so bidders will have until Friday to submit final, revised bids.
  • The sole determining factor among the bids will be price – given that all bidders are “qualified” and that the stipulations are the same for all bidders.
  • The stipulations for a Turnpike operator include approximately the same toll limits (25% increase in 2009, limited to CPI in future years) and the same new capital projects as currently proposed by the Turnpike Commission, along with protections for workers.
    If it takes the legislature longer than the June 30 deadline to approve the deal, Governor Rendell thinks the bidder would likely be willing to work with the legislature on that.
  • Governor Rendell was pleased with the amounts of the bids, “given the current capital market”, but believes they would have gotten more had they gone through the process last year.
  • All documentation and “answers” requested by the FHWA on I-80 tolling will be submitted this week. Governor Rendell will ask US DOT Secretary Mary Peters for an expedited answer.
  • Governor Rendell stated there were three bidders, but upon question, claimed that it was “a multiple of three … three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, I can’t really say”.
  • All bidders include both an international and US component in terms of management and financing.

The Governor also responded to questions on the smoking ban (flouting his nanny-state mentality), and on Clinton-Obama, which was a bit off topic, but the Capitol-beat media seem to love it, and Rendell and I actually agree on the Florida/Michigan delegate debacle.