Turnpike fiscal mess in need of private cleanup

So here’s the fiscal situation regarding the Pennsylvania turnpike.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has approved a 10-percent increase in tolls for cash-paying customers. E-ZPass users will pay 2 percent more.

Motorists using the Southern Beltway in the Pittsburgh area are seeing a steeper increase in cash tolls this year.

And with the turnpike commission more than $7 billion in debt, more toll increases are on the way.

All this doom and gloom makes it even more annoying that a proposal a few years ago to privatize the turnpike operation was dismissed by galvanized political interests. Such bullying should not be allowed by others.

If the turnpike operation cannot be run without running up a debt, those managing it should have to explain why they should remain the managers.

Other states have privatized their highway systems with success. There’s no reason why Pennsylvania shouldn’t consider the same, especially when the operation is a debt drag on the state.

If the state is ever going to get its fiscal house in order and attack its future problems, decision making has to become a matter of practicality, not a contest determined by what special interest carries more sway.