Turnpike Lease Back On The Table

The Philadelphia Bulletin has an article on the Turnpike lease facing real consideration now; the Daily Collegian and the Daily Item have similar pieces (HT GrassrootsPA).

In the Bulletin piece, Eric Arneson (spokesman for Senator Pileggi) repeats the inane idea that “there is plenty of time” to take most of the next two months off to campaign and not debate the Turnpike lease, because the Turnpike Commission will continue to borrow money, based on future revenue they won’t have, to pay PennDOT, and that the state could “rebid” the lease.

Len Gilroy from Reason explains just how stupid (his words) that idea is. Peter Samuel has additional thoughts on the flaws of the “rebid” idea.

Another ill-conceived idea is the proposal floated by Dave Argall and Keith McCall to “fund road and bridge repairs without new taxes or tolls”. Their plan is to move state police from the Motor License Fund to the General Fund. There is nothing inately wrong with this plan, but readers will realize that that it doesn’t increase revenue. We will simply have to pay $500 million more, with no source of new revenue, and Pennsylvania is already behind in revenue collections.

Clearly, there is plenty of funding that could be found by cutting wasteful spending – and we have identified billions that could be cut. But which of these do Argall and McCall propose cutting?

The fact remains that the Turnpike lease is good public policy, as is cutting wasteful spending. We should do both. The Argall-Mcall bill (and the Scarnati plan, along similar lines), are just efforts to preserve the patronage mill of the Turnpike Commission.