Gov. Edward Rendell (D), has hired New York financial firm Morgan Stanley & Co. to analyze a number of funding options for generating the estimated $1.7 billion Pennsylvania needs annually to repair and maintain its roads and bridges, plus fund mass transit needs.
Those options include:
- A lease or concession of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private operator
- New revenue generating activity advocated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which has suggested the issuance of bonds, instituting new tolls on other Pennsylvania highways, and creating a $1 “congestion fee” in certain urban areas as a way to raise the necessary funds for infrastructure repair
- A highly leveraged debt re-capitalization of the Turnpike by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission or another public entity owned by the state.
“We need to analyze all of the financing strategies, so Pennsylvania taxpayers and drivers get the very best options for funding our roads and bridges,” said Gov. Rendell, noting that the state needs $965 million for highways and bridges and $760 million for public transit every year just to maintain the current level of capability and service.
Rendell noted that the Morgan Stanley contract is subject to the review and approval of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. The firm will earn compensation only when the state receives funding for its transportation needs. He added that Morgan Stanley’s work would be made available to the state’s legislative branch, the General Assembly, for review.