Rafferty, Hutchinson Measure Explores Consolidation of PennDOT/Turnpike Interstate Operations

 Harrisburg — A resolution sponsored by Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr., (R-44) and Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21) was adopted by the Senate and calls for a study of a potential consolidation of the interstate operations of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (Turnpike).

“Currently, both PennDOT and the Turnpike are responsible for the planning, construction and maintenance of interstate highways and freeways under their respective jurisdictions,” said Rafferty. “We have an obligation to the taxpayers to analyze all cost-saving measures, particularly when two overlapping Commonwealth agencies perform similar duties.”

While PennDOT and the Turnpike created a “Mapping the Future” initiative in 2011 to explore collaboration, there has never been a study of the potential consolidation of the interstate operations.

Senate Resolution 209 directs the Joint State Government Commission to undertake the study and to provide a final report with findings of fact, recommendations and any proposed legislative remedies.

“The initial purpose of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was to build the original Turnpike, and that was accomplished decades ago,” said Senator Hutchinson. “I believe this study will show that there are a lot of redundant costs incurred by the Commission, such as engineering services and maintenance crews, which could be reduced significantly if the Turnpike was operated by PennDOT. If things don’t change, those unnecessary costs will continue to be passed on to drivers through ever-increasing tolls.”

PennDOT has an annual budget of more than $8 billion in federal and state funds, and is responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and 25,400 bridges.

The Turnpike is responsible for 552 miles of roadway, 150 bridges, 79 interchange configurations, 27 maintenance facilities and 17 service plazas. It has an operating budget of approximately $360 million, and will have assumed nearly $17 billion in debt by 2022, primarily as a result of $450 million in annual funding contributions to PennDOT required under Act 44 of 2007.

Under Senate Resolution 209, the Joint State Government Commission will have 18 months to provide its report to the Senate.

 

Contacts:        Nolan Ritchie (Senator Rafferty) nritchie@pasen.gov (717) 787-1398

                            Justin Leventry (Senator Hutchinson) jleventry@pasen.gov (717) 787-9684