Governor Rendell is siding with the Turnpike Commission in a dispute with Penndot over how much funding the turnpike is required to provide for roads, bridges and mass transit in the state.
KYW’s Tony Romeo reports the issue is state law enacted three years ago that anticipated that the Turnpike Commission would provide almost a billion dollars for transportation in this fiscal year.
The law anticipated about half that money coming from tolls on I-80.
Even though the federal government has rejected I-80 tolls, however, Penndot lawyers think the law obligates the turnpike to provide the full amount.
But Governor Rendell says the turnpike would have to raise tolls even higher and pay out $2 billion to borrow a quarter of that amount for one year:
“It doesn’t do anything to solve the funding problem for the next year, and it would leave us with a $2 billion debt, so obviously, that’s something we’re not going to do.”
Rendell, meanwhile, is waging an uphill battle for higher vehicle fees and a tax on oil company profits to raise new funds for transportation.