Already, similar public-private lease arrangements are working in Indiana and the city of Chicago, demonstrating that sound public-private partnerships make bipartisan sense. With the interest from lease arrangements, Indiana has paid off bonds and delivered $150 million for county transportation needs, while Chicago has invested in community projects, created a rainy day fund, and paid down its debts.
Critics have suggested the consortium unfairly benefits from federal tax law that allows companies to write off large investments. For those concerned with the tax code, I suggest a lobbying trip to Washington.
In the meantime, consider this: Is it such a bad idea to offer the private sector incentives to invest in our ailing transportation system? For my money, $12.8 billion in the bank, safer roads and bridges, no tolls on I-80, and expanded public transit seem to be no-brainers.
Former PA Transporation Secretary (and Turnpike Commissioner) Howard Yerusalim on the Turnpike lease in the Philadelphia Inquirer: