Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission vs. PennDOT
Act 44 of 2007 dramatically expanded the scope and power of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) to increase tolls on the 537-mile Turnpike; enter into a lease agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to take control of the 311-mile Interstate 80; begin tolling Interstate 80; and issue $13.8 billion in bonded debt.
The PTC’s bonded debt under Act 44—which will cost businesses and the commuting public more than $24 billion in debt and interest payments—is intended to provide $9.57 billion for 16 years for roads, highways, bridges, and mass transit; $3.1 billion for 10 years for the Turnpike; and $1.1 billion for 10 years for Interstate 80.
Despite the dramatic increase in PTC debt, Act 44 provides less than half the additional funding needed for roads, highways, and bridges identified in the November 2006 report from the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission.
In addition to increasing the number of road miles to be operated and managed by the PTC by 58% (from 537 miles to 848 miles), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is now heavily dependent on the PTC to help fund the other 39,530 miles under the control of PennDOT.
However, the financial and operational performance of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission relative to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is lackluster. On a per mile basis, the PTC’s debt, expenditures, and number of employees far exceed that of PennDOT.
For additional information on Transportation and other issues, go to www.CommonwealthFoundation.org, or call 717.671.1901.
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The Commonwealth Foundation is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.