Filling in turnpike facts
The Pa. Turnpike Commission welcomes the scrutiny of our auditor general, but the Mirror’s recent editorial did not provide all of the facts regarding our policies (Tighten Turnpike policies, Jan. 14, 2013).
A company car is fairly common in the public and private sector. Turnpike commissioners reside throughout the state and attend bi-monthly public meetings in Harrisburg.
In addition, they regularly conduct commission business at home and throughout the state, meeting with federal, state and local officials and others about Turnpike projects across our system.
Regarding commissioner’s expenses, it is noteworthy that an unusual amount of activity occurred during the nearly five-year audit period namely debate over leasing the Turnpike, Act 44 and I-80 tolling – requiring more extensive travel than normal.
We intend to analyze and review the expenses of commissioners and executive staff to ensure that only the most necessary and reasonable expenses are approved while continuing to look for ways to reduce employee travel.
The commission has reduced operating expenses while maintaining increased levels of capital spending.
In fact, 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.
Turnpike toll dollars continue to support annual payments to PennDOT of $450 million for road, bridge and public-transportation projects across the state.
To date, tolls from Turnpike customers helped provide PennDOT with more than $3.6 billion.
Our financial reports and budgets are available at www.paturnpike.com for public scrutiny.
William J. Capone
Chief of Communications & Public Relations
Pa. Turnpike Commission