Auditor General Warns Of Unstable Future for Turnpike

September 13, 2016

depasqualeofficialphotoAuditor General Eugene DePasquale audited the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and found potentially troubling news for the state’s comprehensive transportation system if the General Assembly does not address the onerous financial obligations facing the commission.

The audit covered the performance of the turnpike over the past two years, and found that with toll increases, the commission collects between $12 million and $20 million annually; however, DePasquale also noted that the commission has set very high projections for traffic and he does not expect them to be met.

Act 44 of 2007 created the turnpike’s financial dilemma, as it mandated that the commission pay $450 million annually to PennDOT. Act 89 of 2013, the comprehensive multi-modal transportation funding bill, decreases the annual payment to PennDOT to $50 million starting in 2023.

“I supported the bipartisan transportation funding reform that became Act 89 because, in addition to improving the state’s infrastructure, it increased oversight of the turnpike’s financial situation,” DePasquale said. “That extra oversight and fiscal monitoring will help create the awareness needed to address the problem before we reach the next transportation funding cliff in 2023.”

Toll rates would need to be increased annually in order to make the Act 44 payments, and even that may not be enough. The payments from Act 44 fund other modes of transportation in the state, including major public transportation entities. DePasquale urged the General Assembly to take action. The turnpike is slated to undertake major road improvements over the next ten years, which cannot happen without a more stable financial future.

“The financial health of the turnpike is critical to the health of our multi-modal system as a whole,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Act 89 was a positive step in alleviating the turnpike’s debt obligations, but more should be done to ensure its operations and improvements.”

The commission’s response is included in the 73-page audit report which is available online at:


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