The Sun-Gazette’s most recent look at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s (PTC) finances was riddled with errors (Turnpike fiscal mess in need of private cleanup, Jan. 15, 2013).
As a result of the toll increase that took effect this month, more than two-thirds of our customers save 25 percent on the cost of tolls because they use E-ZPass. Motorists who use the Southern Beltway near Pittsburgh are seeing a steeper increase because tolls have not been raised since the roadway opened six years ago.
We seriously question your statement that other states successfully privatized their highway system. Our financial outlook remains strong. We are partners with the Commonwealth in addressing transportation funding challenges. Much of the PTC’s debt has been incurred since the passage of Act 44 in 2007.
Act 44 requires us to make annual payments to PennDOT of $450 million for road, bridge and transit projects across the state. To date, tolls from Turnpike customers have helped provide PennDOT with more than $3.6 billion, a significant portion of its funding.
The toll increase also funds the PTC’s capital improvements. Between 2012 and 2015 an additional $3.6 billion will be invested to rebuild the Turnpike resulting in an estimated $6.6 billion in economic output and 72,000 full and part time jobs. We earn among the highest bond ratings in our industry and some of the most respected institutional investors in the world continue to invest in the PTC. We welcome an open and honest debate about our operations.
William J. Capone
Chief of Communications
Submitted by E-Mail