Turnpike Commission Cutting Work Force

Following traffic and revenue declines, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced it will be reducing its staff size starting with a “voluntary departure program”, with layoffs to be next.

Curiously, one of the Turnpike Commission’s lines against a Turnpike lease was that an “evil, for-profit” company would cut workers., while they would protect them.  We have noted the Turnpike Commission’s bloated payroll in the past, so cutting staff is certainly part of being more efficient – but I doubt we will see cuts in the number of politically appointed managers (nearly 1 per mile of roadway now), expenses for bond lawyers,  perks for Joe Brimmeier, and the like.

Two more questions:
– Will the 25% increase in Turnpike tolls in January exacerbate ridership declines?
– Sam Smith raises the question of whether the Turnpike Commission be allowed to go deeper into debt at a time when they are unable to meet their current operating costs?  As we have pointed out, the borrowing plan under Act 44 creates a massive amount of new debt, and the Turnpike Commission is continuing to borrow based both on revenue growth and on the presumption of tolling I-80.