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Diane Publishing Books
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission: A Performance Audit
Jack Wagner (ed)
Pennsylvania State Auditor Gen. Jack Wagnerńˇ╗s audit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has found that the turnpikeńˇ╗s involvement in interest-rate swaps has cost Pennsylvania taxpayers and turnpike motorists at least $108.9 million. The turnpikeńˇ╗s strategy was to use the swaps to save money, but it has instead further burdened the debt-ridden commission by not using conventional fixed-rate bonds to finance its debt. Under Act 44, a Lease and Funding Agreement was entered into by the turnpike and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), which requires the turnpike to pay PennDOT $450 million a year, or nearly $24 billion, over a period of 50 years to provide funding for roads, bridges and transit. The turnpike raised tolls only five times from its opening in 1940 through 2004. Since Act 44 was implemented in 2007, there have been five annual toll increases, including one that took effect Jan. 6. This audit shows that the commissionńˇ╗s long-term debt has increased by more than 200%, from $2.6 billion to $8.3 billion, since the General Assembly approved Act 44 of 2007. ńˇýGiven its precarious financial position relative to Act 44 payments, the turnpike should not use these complicated and risky deals,ńˇŁ Wagner asserts. ńˇýThe Turnpike Commission should terminate its swap deals and ban all swap use in the future for the sake of Pennsylvania taxpayers and the motoring public as soon as it is financially feasible to do so.ńˇŁ Tables. This is a print on demand report.
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