PA Could Drop Controversial Turnpike Subsidies

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is awash in red ink


HARRISBURG — As lawmakers negotiate how much they want to spend on road and bridge repairs throughout Pennsylvania, they've got a $450 million elephant in the room.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission annually subsidizes the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with $450 million worth of improvement to state roads as part of Act 44 of 2007. But the payment has beleaguered the indebted turnpike, in part triggering toll increases for the past five years, and contributing in part to a ratings downgrade.

So when Gov. Tom Corbett announced a major transportation funding initiative as part of his to-do list for this budget season, his administration called for a 10-year phase-out of those payments. Ten years, the administration surmised, would give lawmakers enough time to figure out how to make up for that annual $450 million from other monies.