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Old 04-01-2013, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,056 posts, read 14,818,342 times
Reputation: 2798

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Quote:
...Thornburgh, now an attorney in Washington, said he thinks the recent corruption scandal involving charges against eight former turnpike officials and vendors should spur state leaders to scrap the commission and place PennDOT in charge of operating the toll highway...
Thornburgh: Let PennDOT run the Pennsylvania Turnpike | TribLIVE
but
Quote:
PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch,...opposes making the turnpike part of PennDOT. As PennDOT chief, he sits on the Turnpike Commission.
It could hurt the overall credit rating of the agency and the state,” Schoch said of the proposed consolidation.
“By keeping them separate, if there was an issue with (the turnpike's) credit, it would be placed directly on tolls and not affect the credit rating and bonding expense for the entire state,” Schoch said.
The turnpike's debt tripled in the past six years, from $2.6 billion to $8.3 billion. The toll road brings in more than $800 million a year in tolls, but annually spends about $330 million to operate and $400 million to repay debt.
The turnpike gives PennDOT $450 million each year as required by a 2007 state law for roads, bridges and transit. It borrows money and raises tolls annually to stay afloat.
PennDOT, on the other hand, has $1.4 billion in debt on about $7 billion in annual revenue.
Schoch said he favors sharing equipment and services whenever possible to reduce costs.
Read more: Thornburgh: Let PennDOT run the Pennsylvania Turnpike | TribLIVE

I actually think that it should be sold or leased (rendell) with the proceeds paying down the debt or the new operator paying down the debt and the funding stream to penndot replaced with a new revenue stream (such as the one proposed by corbett). if nothing else, schoch is probably right, there's no reason the two entities can't take advantage of shared resources without the state taking on the debt load.
interesting history
Quote:
its roots can be traced back to a $1 million constitutional debt limit that existed in Pennsylvania from 1874 to 1968.
The debt limit made it hard to finance major capital projects, such as the construction of highways and bridges. Establishing independent authorities and agencies, such as the Turnpike Commission in 1937, became a work-around.
Shortly after its inception, the commission borrowed $41 million to help finance construction of America's oldest superhighway...Thornburgh and Senate Democrats compromised in 1985. Both agreed to temporarily expand the commission from five members to six, with the governor appointing two new members without Senate confirmation — though one of the appointees later would be recommended by Democratic leaders in the Senate and House. The governor also was allowed to pick the commission chairman.
In return, Thornburgh agreed to approve $4.5 billion in turnpike improvements and extensions.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:17 AM
 
4,264 posts, read 10,317,640 times
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The only fundamentally broken aspect of the Turnpike is its use as a cash cow for PENNDOT (thanks, Rendell).
Just raise the gasoline tax already.

Here's a quote I found recently (from far from an uninterested party, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.):

Quote:
Consider the following information of average annual household expenditures:
annual cell phone bills can run $1200per year
cable/internet bills can run $1200 per year
electric bills can be $1300 per year
water and sewer costs can be $680 per year
your state gas tax is $198 per year (12,000 miles at 20 miles per gallon
at 33 cents per gallon)
Of all of these examples, each of the expenditures has gone up over the last 20 years while the state gas tax has remained constant.
A sale or lease just lines someone else's pocket, for real money vs. the chump change of the current scandal. I would not think PENNDOT would be any less susceptible to the possibility of bid rigging.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,056 posts, read 14,818,342 times
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sale or lease doesn't just line someone else's pocket (though it could, it doesn't have to)...that's a popular view but private roads have worked elsewhere. it also keeps the "fares" from being overly politicized. anyway, an interesting way to look at it (the gas tax). it seems that you agree with the last option, shared services without consolidation and replacing the funding stream to penndot with another option (gas tax, oil franchise tax, etc, it doesn't really matter, one is as good as the other)
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:41 AM
 
4,264 posts, read 10,317,640 times
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Something that seems to be forgotten in what passes for the funding debate is that municipalities also need funding from the liquid fuels tax and they face more extreme funding pressures with less options than the state itself does.

I dream of calling the intellectually dishonest fed/state politicians to account for their tax cuts or holding the line on taxes that just push the problem down to lower levels of government with fewer options.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,076 posts, read 4,404,098 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
The only fundamentally broken aspect of the Turnpike is its use as a cash cow for PENNDOT (thanks, Rendell).
Just raise the gasoline tax already.

Here's a quote I found recently (from far from an uninterested party, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.):



A sale or lease just lines someone else's pocket, for real money vs. the chump change of the current scandal. I would not think PENNDOT would be any less susceptible to the possibility of bid rigging.
Interesting post. Do I -want- to pay more gas taxes? No. Am I willing to pay more if the proceeds are used for infrastructure? Absolutely.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:49 AM
 
41,823 posts, read 44,464,912 times
Reputation: 17740
delete
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:52 AM
 
41,823 posts, read 44,464,912 times
Reputation: 17740
Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
The only fundamentally broken aspect of the Turnpike is its use as a cash cow for PENNDOT (thanks, Rendell).
Just raise the gasoline tax already.

Here's a quote I found recently (from far from an uninterested party, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.):
I support raising the fuel tax but I'm surprised someone in business would make that comment. When you raise the fuel tax your electric bill goes up, your cable bill goes up, your phone bill goes up and if you're getting stone and lime that goes up too.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,076 posts, read 4,404,098 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
I support raising the fuel tax but I'm surprised someone in business would make that comment. When you raise the fuel tax your electric bill goes up, your cable bill goes up, your phone bill goes up and if you're getting stone and lime that goes up too.
I guess that just goes to show you that people see this as a worthwhile endeavor (i.e. to properly fund and improve infrastructure). Remember that if bridges close, roads don't get widened, and public transportation doesn't get expanded, that the cost of commuting increase.

2 weeks ago I attended a Main Line Chamber of Commerce event where a PennDot representative was, for lack of a better word, schilling on behalf of Gov. Corbett's plan. I'm not trying to speak for the Chamber but I will suggest here that they are very much in support of the Governor's plan. So am I. The general consensus is that if this doesn't get passed this year, it will fall to the bottom of the list before Corbett or another governor decide to deal with it again. Until that time, PennDot's budgets will continue to be smaller and smaller.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,056 posts, read 14,818,342 times
Reputation: 2798
id like to see more tolling. it eould have the added bonus of congestion reduction. tolling the schuykill and the tunnels in pittsburgh would be a good start. fuel alone is no longer a viable means of raising revenue
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,076 posts, read 4,404,098 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
id like to see more tolling. it eould have the added bonus of congestion reduction. tolling the schuykill and the tunnels in pittsburgh would be a good start. fuel alone is no longer a viable means of raising revenue
I've always found it silly that I-95 through PA is free. It's not free in NJ, DE, MD, or NY, that I know of. Why is it free here?
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