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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lessons from the Failed PA Turnpike Lease

The Pew Center on the States has a new report out offering lessons to Pennsylvania and other states on the proposed deal to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike (full report here), noting that private funding for roads remains a likely, and necessary, scenario for future infrastructure needs.

They point out the lack of communication between the executive branch and the legislature, and "rosy scenarios" for investment returns.  Hence, they recommend that state legislatures take the lead in development parameters for a lease deal (which I feel like I said over and over again) and using more realistic financial assumptions.

If only there was an organization who had said these things before the fact.

1 comment:

Elizabeth A. Male said...

Well, there's no shortage of sugar-coating in that report.

Let me spell it out: THERE MUST BE FULL DISCLOSURE to the electorate, with a minimum of 4 - 6 weeks between the full disclosure and a final vote on the enabling legislation and any lease deal. The public MUST be afforded an opportunity to provide commentary to their elected representatives BEFORE any lease is finalized.

The Pennsylvania experience provides a case study in gross mismanagement of the process, beginning with the no-bid contracts to outside counsel, Executive Branch control, the lack of transparency, the lack of any meaningful disclosure of the REAL financial terms of the deal, and the lack of any Constitutional restrictions on the use of the proceeds.

We averted a disaster that would have left our children and grandchildren paying dearly for our gross mismanagement. The Pew study puts this in flowery terms.