PA Turnpike Concession: Gaining control, not losing It

Len Gilroy writes on Reason’s Out of Control blog how a Turnpike Lease agreement actually gives the state, and the taxpayers, more control over how the Turnpike is operated.

A useful example is the concession agreement for the PA Turnpike (see my post yesterday for details)–all 686 pages of it are available for downlad here (warning: large download, 33MB). Even through a quick scan, it becomes very obvious how detailed and complex these agreements are. In addition to the roughly $5 billion in capital expenditures on the Turnpike required of the
concessionaire over the deal (a staggering amount of investment in the asset that’s above and beyond the $12.8 billion upfront payment), the agreement includes a variety of interesting performance requirements that readers may find surprising. The concessionaire must:

  • repair potholes within 24 hours (for the temporary repair, there’s another spec for the full repair);
  • remove dead animal carcasses in 8 hours (same as Indiana Toll Road concession);
  • respond to vehicle accidents and material spills in 15 minutes;
  • remove graffiti within 24 hours;
  • clean and inspect all bridges annually;
  • collect roadside litter once per week;
  • collect illegal roadside dumping within 2 hours; and
  • clear blocked drain pipes and culverts in 12 hours
  • this one’s my favorite—windows and signs in toll booths must be cleaned three times per week, and trash cans in the toll booths must be emptied daily!

For more, read Matt Brouillette’s commentary today.