One of my favorite letter writers, Bill McIntyre of Camp Hill, sent this missive today. Food for thought.
Interest – Pay or Receive?
There has been much recent discussion concerning increasing tolls of the PA Turnpike and tolling I80 for improving our roads and bridges. Tolls are a hidden tax. When we tax transportation; the costs are passed along to the consumers in higher prices. Companies don’t pay taxes. We do!
We’re at a crossroads in Pennsylvania (seems like we’re always at a crossroads here). The governor and legislature recently passed a budget without much serious thought and foresight. In it, they elected to issue bonds for immediate cash. We will be paying millions in interest for years on these bonds.
Why not receive interest. The longer I considered our governor’s proposal to lease the Turnpike, the more convinced I became it is the way to go. Why? Our state budget and recent developments have convinced me that government alone, especially our government, does not have the answers.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell recently said as much on CNBC when he stated that private investment is needed to prevent disasters like the Minnesota bridge collapse. He also stated that by leasing the Turnpike, the state could expect to receive $500M more than the budget would provide.
P3s (Public-Private Partnerships) are the answer. A private company wouldn’t need A-Manager-A-Mile ; but would need road crews and toll collectors who actually do the work. Just think; I80 remains toll-free as it was born-free and should remain that way.
For additional information – go to: www.CommonwealthFoundation.org and type in Turnpike.