The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission: Unsafe At Any Speed

Posted by By at 14 March, at 13 : 59 PM Print

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was a landmark achievement for Pennsylvania

motorists when it officially opened on October 1, 1940. Pennsylvanians had greater access to work, recreation, and family. Many Baby- boomers have happy motoring memories of stopping to picnic, eating clam rolls at Howard Johnsons, and taking Sunday afternoon drives to view fall foliage.

That era is gone. Cheap gas, friendly attendants, and clean restrooms are in history’s rear view mirror.

So too is the old way of doing business at the toll road according to Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s (“PTC” or “Commission”) Vice-Chair, Timothy Carson, who   declared, “We’re not your father’s turnpike.”[1]

But the Turnpike doesn’t have to be my granddaughter’s debt burden either.

While the physical infrastructure that is the Turnpike is an essential artery for Pennsylvania, the Commission that runs it is an outdated political patronage den where tolls, bonds, and perpetual debt are its lifeblood and the reason for its existence.

I do not endorse privatizing the Turnpike, but neither do I support subsidizing an inefficient and ineffective Commission that funnels profits to well-connected law firms and businesses, campaign contributors, family members, and lobbyists.

There is a better way than the status quo. The Commission raised tolls 42.5% in 2004. With health insurance outpacing inflation, property taxes steadily increasing, and electric rates spiking, motorists can not afford to drive on a road with never ending toll hikes.

Turnpike CEO Joseph G. Brimmeier promised, “Further, I pledge that this will be the last toll increase for at least the remainder of this decade, so Pennsylvania Turnpike customers can once again enjoy a respite from toll increases while driving a better, safer road.” [2] The following year, “The number of cars using the Pennsylvania Turnpike is down by less than 1% since last summer’s toll increase.” [3]

Mr. Brimmeier broke his promise three years later by increasing Turnpike tolls by 25% in 2009 – followed by annual increases of 3%. [4] He also bragged that the Turnpike hadn’t raised their tolls since 1991. While that’s true, it’s only half of the story: Turnpike tolls were increased by 30% in 1987 and another 30% in 1991.

Maybe I’m too old school, but I was taught that a decade constitutes ten years.

House Bill 1590 of 2007-2008 gave “the PTC full discretion to set toll rates subject to bond covenants giving bondholders rights in circumstances of default.”  In other words, “Tolls shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any other state commission, board, bureau or agency.” [5] This is a chilling reminder of former Allen Kukovich’s (D-Westmoreland) warning that the Turnpike’s bond business “just seems to be paybacks to political folks all the time.”

Ten years earlier the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Editorial Board concluded:

“Political considerations are routinely a factor in the turnpike’s selection of bond underwriters, turnpike documents show. The documents list turnpike bond deals with the name of the underwriting firms, their share of bonds and their profits, and the political party that sponsored them. The commission has issued or refinanced more than $2b in bonds to pay for road projects since 1986 [without bids]. Turnpike officials said the bonds were split 50-50 between the parties….Several studies have concluded that municipal bond  issuers pay significantly higher costs  on negotiated underwritings, such as the turnpike’s, than on competitively bid offerings.” [6]

Well, it’s back to the future.


Managers, Employees, and Lobbyists


It’s difficult to imagine a more inefficient use of labor and toll dollars. Does the Commission really need 480 managers and 1,799 employees to staff, manage, and operate the Turnpike? That’s 2,279 employees making sure 530.5 miles of road run on time, [7] or 4.29 employees (including one manager) per mile of toll road.

In 1998, the Turnpike was considered overstaffed when its employee/mile ratio was 3:1 compared to 1:1 at PennDOT. But back in 1957 there were 1,560 employees, 50 years later the number has mushroomed to 2,279. I guess some bureaucratic whack job would view this business model as economic development.

Can you imagine how “efficient” our schools would be if we deployed one teacher for every four students? The current student to teacher ratio in Pennsylvania for primary schools is 15 to one. [8] Please tell me that the answer to reducing class size is not a mobile school van driven by a Turnpike Commissioner.

In 2007 the Turnpike Commission reported 10 managers earning from $125,320 to $178,427. [9] How many fireman or policeman or nurses make that much money?  Turnpike wages (not factoring health benefits and pension plans) are vastly superior to the private sector in Pennsylvania in comparable supervisory fields: [10]




Job Title 2006 2007 % change
Regulatory Affairs Manager $64,101 $75,731 +18.14
Product Line Manager II $92,039 $107,939 + 17.28
General Supervisor $52,488 $57,922 +10.35
General Accounting Supervisor $51,627 $56,908 +10.23
Collection Manager $55,168 $54,465 - 1.27
Human Resource Manager $69,644 $68,062 - 2.29
Sales Promotion/Manager $109,467 $97,336 - 11.08

And this does not factor the army of lobbyists the Turnpike deployed in 2007.

The PTC paid the Bravo Group more than $26,000 a month to lobby the legislature and governor not to privatize the Turnpike. This is on the level of the PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) which pays more than $1 million a year to eight lobbying firms, including $235,000 to a single lobbyist. [11]

The Department of State listed 11 lobbyists from Bravo working on behalf of the Commission, including Jill Asher, a founding member of the Pennsylvania Future Fund. Throw in a pompom, mud bath, and facial, and we’re talking PHEAA road trip here.

The Commission had support lobbying staff on-hand including: Commonwealth Strategic Solutions (headed by Mike Long, the former chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer (R-Blair) who bagged $41,000 in taxpayer-funded bonuses), Eckert, Seamans, Cherion & Mellott, LLC., Rosscommon Consulting International, and Twain Marketing. [12]

But wait, that’s not all.

The Commission also retained former State Senator Joseph Loeper, (R-Delaware County), under contract. Remember Joe? Ah, the good old days before BIG, “Bounsgate” and two free drinks at casinos.  Joe admitted to violating federal tax laws, pled guilty to obstructing an IRS investigation, insisted on staying on at the Senate (even Vince Fumo asked him to step aside), and went to a federal reform school in Fort Dix.  Of course, former Senator Fumo is now dispensing advice from a minimum security cell in Ashland, Kentucky.

Compare the Turnpike’s lobbyists’ fees against the Pennsylvania norm for “Regulatory affairs”, and you’ll see whose getting banged for the buck. If we reduce Turnpike appropriations by the amount spent on lobbying fees, taxpayers can save at least $312,000 annually.

The size of Pennsylvania’s legislative staff (the second-largest in the nation) more than doubled from 1,430 (1979) to 2,947 (2003); and by 2005, the cost of running the Pennsylvania Legislature was $23 for every resident. [13] For $29.30 you can get on the Turnpike at Warrendale, exit at Wyoming Valley, and still have 10cents left over to make a down payment on a phone call. [14]

Tolls are set to increase by 3% for E-ZPass users and 10% for cash customers in January 2011.

I not a big fan of the Legislature, but even these guys acknowledged the need to reduce its bloated size. The Speaker’s Commission on Legislative Reform recommended cutting operating costs 10 percent to save $32 million.

Certainly the Turnpike Commission can make a similar gesture.

These numbers don’t factor the lobbying militia the Turnpike deployed in Washington, D.C. You may remember the Turnpike Commission’s star lobbyist – Ann Eppard – who secured $20 million in funding for the Mon-Fayette expressway. John Martino, legislative liaison for the commission, called Eppard “one of the most intelligent persons I’ve ever met in all my years in government and public service.” Unfortunately for the PTC, “A week later, however, she was hit with an indictment charging that during her tenure as Bud Shuster’s chief of staff she accepted $230,000 in illegal payments in connection with an enormous Boston highway project and embezzled $27,500 from his campaign.” [15]

The Turnpike Commission was well aware of the Eppard-Shuster lobbying highway to transportation riches. Congressman Shuster (R-Bedford) employed Ann Eppard as his top Congressional aide for 22 years before she founded Ann Eppard Associates, Ltd., in 1994. Ms. Eppard’s enterprise was a “lobbying firm that primarily represents transportation interests before Chairman Shuster’s Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.” [16]

Roll Call reported that Shuster – acknowledged in a statement Thursday that “his campaign is based in the home office of a lobbyist whose main business is representing clients before his committee.” Eppard was paid $3,000 per month by Shuster’s campaign committee.

This is the same time period when former commissioner Robert Gleason (Republican Party Chairman), “used his power on the commission to drum up business for his insurance agency.” [17] Gleason was appointed by Robert P. Casey (D) to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission until Governor Thomas J. Ridge (R) appointed him to State Transportation Commission in 1997. “He served on the Commission until September 1997, during which time he helped determine policy on construction, operation, and maintenance issues, as well as addressing finance and contract issues.”[18]


Roads to Somewhere…Anywhwere


Why do Mr. Brimmeier and Mr. Carson continue to advocate building exorbitant interchanges like the Sony Connector also refereed to as the Laurel Valley Connector in Westmoreland County?

Rep. John Murtha (D-Johnstown), who recently passed away declared: “The Laurel Valley [Sony] Connector is the No. 1 priority for Westmoreland County because it’ll link the industrial parks and the Sony complex with both the turnpike and Route 981 to the airport near Latrobe with its new intermodal.” [19]

Among the powerful supporters of the toll road are gubernatorial candidate and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato (D), Sen. Richard Kasunic, (D-Dunbar), and newly minted “reformer”, former Majority Leader, and recently indicted legislator – Bill DeWeese (D-Greene).

”It’s a monster,” said David McGuirk, an expressway opponent. ”It’s a black hole for Pennsylvania tax dollars.” Even supporters like Ralph Imbrogno, manager for the city of Clairton admitted,  ‘I’m not saying that that justifies spending millions, just to make it convenient for people to get from point A to point B. But how does a Pittsburgh politician expect people to participate in events downtown if there is no easy way to get into downtown Pittsburgh?” [20]

While it’s true Murtha, DeWeese, Stoudt, the Shusters (Bill, Bud, and Ann) are bacon brokers par excellence, it’s also true that the Sony, Mon-Fayette, and Lafayette (Montgomery County) Connectors are based on political connections, make little economic sense, and starve resources from other transportation needs.

According to a study conducted by Brunot Consulting, Inc. for Penn Future in 2004:

“The Mon-Fayette Toll Road and the Southern Beltway projects are diverting funds from regional priorities in other areas of the state. They also divert funding from maintenance of the state’s existing transportation infrastructure.  The only potential benefit that MFTR has for these regional priorities is IF it provides the only means for garnering support in the state legislature to increase transportation funding as a whole.” [21]

Of course the issue of property rights and eminent domain are rarely dragged into needs assessments or Environmental Impact Statements. According to Turnpike commission spokesman Joe Agnello, most of Right of Way purchases are nothing more than amicable settlements. “Agnello said 90 percent of all purchases the commission has made for other sections [Uniontown-to- Brownsville section of the Mon-Fayette Expressway] of the expressway are settled through negotiations, but the rest end up in court.”  [22]

Joe Q. Property-Owner is sure to get a fair shake in a court system free of political influence and money. However, it would be interesting to see whether the Turnpike or the gaming industry would prevail before the Supreme Court if both entities required the same property for “economic development.”

All the PTC needs is a statue of Stalin collecting tolls, a Lionsgate camera crew, or a Mark Cohen library card; and viola, the Commission would be eligible for an economic development grant.

Most elected officials from the southwest are card carrying members of Mon-Fayette booster club. But no one was as “irrationally exuberant” as Rep. Murtha.

“I brought in $55 million for Route 22, $20 million to develop an intermodal transportation center and new interchange near the Sony plant, and $21.2 million for several other projects…So what I’d do for the Mon/Fayette is the same thing I’ve done for the areas that I’ve represented in the past – work to deliver for the people I represent by getting money included in the next transportation  bill to advance this essential project for our area.” [23]

Even “former” politicians continue to be seduced by the transportation candy. “The Mon-Fayette Expressway, which must be completed, still needs $2 billion and the money isn’t there” cheered former U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster of Bedford County. [24]

The MFTR Connector is already the second most expensive national road project, and it just received another $350 million ala Act 44. “At an estimated $4.2 billion, it will cost Pennsylvania motorists for decades — regardless of whether they ever pass through a Turnpike toll booth — in gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees.” [25]

But at least Mon-Fay will link Pittsburgh to the vital economic engine that is, uh, Morgantown, West Virginia.

So why do we need more Connectors? Apparently the answer to this question and what ails the Turnpike is found in Europe.

In 2003 Chairman Mitchell Rubin (more on this titan of morality later), Timothy Carson, Turnpike CEO Joseph Brimmeier, and Associate Executive Director Kevin Logenbach attended the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association meeting in Paris.

“In the halcyon pre-recession euphoria that was 2007, Chief Operating Officer George Hatalowich, and Carson attended the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) conference in Austria.  “”I’m not hiding the fact. When IBTTA events are held in our state, we expect people to come here.” [26]  Mr. Brimmeier is on the IBTTA Board of Directors, and made a presentation entitled “Tolling I-80: A Public-Public Partnership.”

Soon E-Z Pass will only accept Euros.

The Turnpike already has numerous monuments honoring politicians; including, the James J. Manderino Highway (6 miles), the Amos K. Hutchinson Bypass (13.2 miles), the James E. Ross Highway (16.5 miles), and the J. Barry Stout portion (17 miles) of Mon-Fayette Expressway will be in operation.

Why not just cut to the chase and build a Turnpike spur from SEPTA to Route 80?

For kicks, we could have Frank LaGrotta’s family collect tolls.  Since motorists are paying theme park prices for the Turnpike ride, we should either sell naming rights for highways and connectors or attach politicians’ names to rest areas to complete the fantasy theme. For example, students driving to college could take a break at the Dick Willey Pension Plaza while seniors could pause to “get a life” at the Mellow Haven Rest Area.

Pinstripe Welfare


Legislative audits in 1987, 1989, and 1997, as well as the Turnpike’s internal review in 1996, found serious flaws in hiring practices, noted that human resources did not always play a significant role in labor decisions, and concluded “sponsor hirings” were common practice. Translation: Nepotism was a prevalent hiring practice and “pinstripe patronage” (a term coined by David Levdansky (D-Pittsburgh), knows no party boundaries.

Back in grandpa’s day (2005) you could be hired based on your last name or political blood line. Notable examples included: Mark Bodack (son of a retired state senator); Daniel Dodaro (his dad used to run the joint); Douglas Fargo (son of a former state rep); Ronald Dininni (nephew of a former lawmaker), Jeffrey Hess (son of Dick Hess); Douglas James Manderino (son of a former House Speaker); Paul Pistella (brother of a pay jacker); and, Fred Trello (son of a former state representative). [27]

Most of these folks still work at the Turnpike while their sponsors have retired, been defeated, or passed away. These individuals are likely good employees, but that’s not that point. Access to good-paying state jobs should be an open and transparent process based on merit; not a family heirloom.

According to Mr. Carson, patronage plums are all in the past. Toll booths and management positions are no longer stocked with friends and family. If this is the case, who is Joe Brimmeier and why is his family tree now an orchard planted at the Turnpike Commission?

According to, an industry news outlet, Mr. Brimmeier’s son is an assistant director of regional operations, despite having no prior experience or specific qualifications.  Brimmeier also created a job at the central office for his cousin Shawn, hired another cousin, Edward, as a plumber in the Turnpike’s maintenance division, and hired nephew, Kevin, as a communications field technician. Mr. Brimmeier has also referred Turnpike legal cases through his sister Bonnie’s law firm, and provided work to his sister Jan, an architect, to design service plazas. [28]

These Turnpike “reforms” are in addition to Mr. Brimmeier arranging a monthly contract of $10,000 for 22 months ($220,000 total) to Sen. Vince Fumo’s (D-Philadelphia) close associate Michael Palermo.  Yet Sen. Fumo’s 139-count federal indictment, and subsequent conviction, stated that the Pennsylvania Turnpike “has no records reflecting that any work was ever performed.” [29]

Perhaps Attorney General Corbett should be looking for “ghosts” at the Turnpike Commission since his presentment train ran out of gas at the Senate.


Act 44:  The Last Act of A Transportation Tragedy


As Harrisburg awaits a Special Session on transportation, it is worth reviewing the legislative disfigurement that supplanted toll booths on I-80.

The PTC did not need a high-priced lobby army to spin Act 44.

Mr. Carson declared, “This law was crafted by Gov. Ed Rendell and the General Assembly after months of study and debate. Lawmakers looked at many alternatives.”  [30]  In fact, Act 44 was conjured-up as an amendment on the floor of the House, and then amended by Senate leadership. It did not go through the committee process.  There were no hearings on Act 44. In case you missed it: You, the voter, consumer, rate payer, toll payer, and tax payer, were not given an opportunity to speak to a piece of legislation that will siphon off another $350 million to the Mon-Fayette boondoggle.

Oops, he did it again. You would have to undergo a major mental hernia operation to call Act 44 anything other than what it is — gut-and-replace legislation at its worst.

State Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) told the York County Chamber of Commerce on January 10, 2007 that Act 44 was rammed through the legislature by his party, resulting in partisan divisions. [31]

Rick Geist, (R-Blair), who once called the Turnpike the “playground of the Senate,” blasted Act 44’s massive debt [32]:

“We have a massive transportation infrastructure problem in Pennsylvania that must be addressed, but the plan approved today is absolutely the wrong approach to fixing the problem. We’ve chosen to go $11 billion into debt and give unprecedented power to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission….I see this as an irresponsible deviation from the pay-as-you-go philosophy that Pennsylvania has followed to pay for  transportation.“[33]

Rep. Geist, Minority Chair of Transportation, does possess bipartisan credentials. [34]  On April 5, 2007, he teamed with Governor Rendell and U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to support leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Norman S. Rich, president and CEO of Weiss Markets, noted that all of their 126 stores in Pennsylvania are supplied from a distribution center in Milton just 10 miles from route 80. Nearly half of Weiss’ stores are supplied via I-80, six days a week or the equivalent of 20,000 trips a year. “If the I-80 toll proposal matches the Pennsylvania Turnpike rates, a round-trip truck run from Milton to Stroudsburg would cost $62.” [35]  Who do you think is going to pay for the increased cost of groceries?

Mr. Carson opined, “Act 44 generates enough funding to satisfy the needs identified by the Governor’s Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, which cited a $1.7 billion annual gap in funding for our transportation systems. Mr. Carson also noted that “the Turnpike will provide Penn DOT with direct payments averaging $1.67 billion annually over the next 50 years.” [36]

Act 44 may pay $1.7 billion in 2036, but the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission didn’t suggest Pennsylvania needed $1.7 billion in 30 years. We need the revenue now. Act 44 will provide $750 million this year, but won’t provide $1 billion until 2015. A couple of years after the state pension time bomb blows up. [37]  Based on historic inflation rates, $1.7 billion in 2037 may be worth about $500 million in today’s dollars. If Congress rejects the I-80 tolling scheme, then Act 44 will yield only one-fourth the identified need. [38]

Apparently, being a bond attorney does not mean you’re able to add or subtract. Mr. Carson didn’t tell you that while my grandfather is off the hook, my granddaughter is going to be paying a heavy price. The Turnpike Commission will have to pay off a $9.6 billion debt and several hundred million dollars in interest at least through 2060.

These types of fuzzy projections make you wonder why the Commission refused to produce the Citigroup study (performed at no cost) requested by Morgan Stanley in its analyses of Turnpike for either leasing or public corporation options. The Turnpike Commission stated:

“Citigroup’s financial analysis verifies that in each scenario, the Commission can generate a greater upfront payment through a tax-exempt bond financing than a private concessionaire can through a debt/equity financing.  Under a 75-year lease with future toll increases consistent with the Commission’s recent trend in toll increases, the concessionaire could pay $12.35 billion in upfront proceeds; the Commission $13.41 billion.”

Mitchell Rubin author of “Response to Request for Expressions of Interest” to PennDOT (dated December 22 2006), included a telling endnote.

The Citigroup Analysis should be read in its entirety to understand the assumptions and qualifications in the results stated therein.” [39]

Only one problem: The Turnpike Commission’s wouldn’t let anyone read the Citigroup Analysis; they mean no one. Despite the fact, the Turnpike Commission will pay $57 billion to PennDOT over the next 40 years; the PTC won’t share the Citigroup study with the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Allen D. Biehler. This is more than a little odd.

Mr. Brimmeier and Mr. Biehler are pals from western Pennsylvania. Brimmeier, who used to be chief of staff for former Rep. Ron Klink (D-Pittsburgh), was appointed to head the Turnpike Commission by Allen D. Biehler in February, 2003.

What is the “new” and “improved” Turnpike Commission hiding? Surely this can’t have anything to do with a blood oath between unrelated political chums from Allegheny County? Maybe the silence is attributable to “reports that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch were trying to raise capital after disastrous sub prime investments. It has been reported that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and the Chinese Government may give Citigroup the required cash infusions.” [40]

It gets better. The author of the document is none other than Chairman of the Turnpike Commission, Mitchell Rubin. This is the same guy who “racked up $72,000 in expenses over five years, much of it for meals at posh restaurants and explained it away by chortling, “This job doesn’t come with an instruction book.” [41]

Mr. Rubin was an associate of Senator Vincent Fumo, and was accused in the 267 page, 139 count federal grand jury indictment of Senator Fumo of multiple counts of defrauding Pennsylvania. The federal indictment alleged that Mr. Rubin provided no work product in return for a contract providing to the Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee. “Neither the Senate nor (Rubin’s) firm possesses any documentary evidence, such as notes and reports, showing that he or his firm ever provided any ‘research, analysis (or) recommendations on legislative matters’ or anything related to constituent services…(Rubin) did little or no actual senate work at all.” [42]

Mr. Rubin was reappointed by Governor Tom Ridge in 2002 and Governor Rendell in 2006. Rubin was dismissed by Rendell in March, 2009 based on the ongoing FBI investigation. Mr. Rubin asked for a leave of absence but the Governor responded,  “Under these circumstances and others it is inappropriate for you to remain as a commissioner.”

Then again, one never knows what to believe when the Governor or Commission shift from mute to audio. Was Governor Rendell telling the truth when he told the Centre Daily Times editorial board that Goldman Sachs would win a Turnpike lease bid? Or was he telling the truth when he denied telling the editorial board that Goldman Sachs would win? Only the Governor’s hairdresser knows for sure.

Maybe Joe Brimmeier was right when he told the Herald Standard, the Commission, and Governor Rendell’s bottom line. A couple years back during the dedication of the transit facility at the Connellsville Airport, Sen. Richard Kasunic, (D-Dunbar) “put a bug in his [the Governors’] ear” about a Brownsville link of the Mon-Fayette Expressway. “This is what Ed Rendell is all about, economic stimulus packages. He said right now, $37 million is being spent on 54 state projects in Fayette County, and we will see another tremendous benefit when we finish Uniontown to Brownsville for Rich.” [43]

I know. I know. I know the answer: Float more bonds, pay more lobbyists, and hire more unemployed relatives.




The Turnpike Commission is expending millions of your toll dollars to underwrite its inefficient operations and perpetuate “pinstripe patronage.”  Starting a toll war will not lead to economic prosperity or fix a broken system. Don’t buy into the PTC’s latest marketing burp that “this is not your father’s turnpike.”

It’s time we extended the efforts to reform state government by eliminating the Turnpike Commission, and collapse and consolidate its functions into the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  A bill introduced by Sen. Jane Orie, (R-Allegheny County) in April 2007 would have abolished the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and assign turnpike operations, maintenance, and reconstruction responsibilities to the Pennsylvania DOT. Although Jane is no angel, the move to abolish the Turnpike Commission is visionary.

While Penn DOT may not be the permanent parking lot for the PTC, it can provide interim and public oversight. The next course of action is to invest in a comprehensive and proactive plan to address Pennsylvania’s commercial, public, and mass transportation challenges. The plan and support staff could be funded by subtracting and redirecting appropriations for the Commission by the amount spent to lobby the legislature. A working group modeled on initiatives sponsored by the Public Utility Commission, and consisting of regulatory stakeholders, policy makers and private shareholders, should be empowered to draft a plan of action for Pennsylvania to meet its infrastructure obligations, transportation requirements, and future needs.

Obviously, statewide public input hearings are a necessary component, and when the plan is complete, the public will have an opportunity to view the document, and comment on an invoice before it becomes a financial albatross.
























































Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Timothy J. Carson, Turnpike lease of I-80 is best way to fix roads, “Morning Call,” November 23, 2007.

    Timothy J. Carson of Philadelphia is the vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a former chairman of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, a long-time partner at the law firm of Saul Ewing LLP, and a principal in the public policy consulting firm of CHH Partners LLC.

  2. Media Contact: Bill Capone, (717) 939-9551 ext. 3040

    PA. TURNPIKE COMMISSION APPROVES FIRST TOLL INCREASE IN OVER 13 YEARS; every penny of the increase will be spent on improving the road.

    Pennsylvania Turnpike: Harrisburg, Pa.  January 21, 2004.

  3. Daniel Machalaba, Steep Increases Set for Toll Roads Moves Affect More Than a Third of Highways, Bridges and Tunnels That Currently Charge Fees, “The Wall Street Journal,” April 12, 2005.
  4. Peter Samuel, Penn Pike’s Joe Brimmeier trumps state Governor – comes out of fight with growing road portfolio, TOLLROADSnews 2007-07-18 , Frederick MD.
  5. House Bill 1590 passed on July 17, 2007.
  6. Editorial, Turnpike run as a sty for patronage, inefficiency. “Philadelphia  Inquirer,” October 29, 1997.
  7. Source: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
  8. Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education, “Demographic Profile Report: 2005-06 Pupil-Teacher Ratio.”
  9. Jan Murphy, Top 10 salary lists, “Patriot News,” Monday, April 02, 2007.
  10.        Jane M. Von Bergen, Ups and Downs of Wages, “Philadelphia Inquirer,” August 13, 2007.
  11. Source: Bravo Group.
  12. Source: Pennsylvania Department of State: Lobbyist Directory.
  13. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures to the Speaker’s Commission on Legislative Reform, May 9, 2007.
  14. Source: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission: “Fare Schedule, Class 1 Passenger Car.”
  15. Juliet Eilperin, Eppard Left Tracks in Highway Bill “Washington Post,” Saturday, April 11, 1998.
  16. Congressional Accountability Project, “Ethics Complaint against Representative Bud Shuster and Call for Investigation into Possible Violations of Criminal Law and House Rules.”  Washington, DC: September 5, 1996.
  17. Three part series and editorial, Turnpike run as a sty for patronage, inefficiency. “Philadelphia Inquirer,” October 29, 1997.
  18. Gleason Agency, Gleason Company Directory
  19. News from Congressman Jack Murtha: District projects funded in House bill. WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2005
  20. Tim Darragh, Turnpike project called ‘black hole’ Mon-Fayette Expressway embodies profligate spending of commission, Legislature. “The Morning Call,” April 19, 2004.
  21. “An Examination of Alternate Uses for Expenditures Related to Expansion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.” Brunot Consulting, Inc. for Penn Future: Conclusion, January 2004, Updated June 2004.
  22. Steve Ferris, Turnpike commission begins property acquisition for expressway section.  “Herald-Standard,” April 14, 2003.
  23. Questions and Answers: Murtha, Mascara answer questions about spurring economy in Mon Valley, The Valley Independent; Monday, May 13, 2002.
  24. Tom Barnes, Lawmakers study private investment for roads

    Plan would ease cost for new infrastructure, “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” Tuesday, September 19, 2006.

  25. Tim Darragh, Turnpike project called ‘black hole’ Mon-Fayette Expressway embodies profligate spending of commission, Legislature. “The Morning Call,” April 19, 2004.
  26. Joe Grata,  Three turnpike officials heading to Austria for meeting, “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” Thursday, October 04, 2007.
  27. Brad Bumsted, They’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania, “Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,” Monday, January 3, 2005.
  28. Tollroadsnews, April 5, 2007, Peter Samuel,
  29. Tom Barnes,  Nepotism at Turnpike Commission, “Pittsburgh Post Gazette,” Sunday, April 15, 2007; Brad Bumsted, They’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania, “Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,”  Monday, January 3, 2005.
  30. Timothy J. Carson, Turnpike lease of I-80 is best way to fix roads, “Morning Call,” November 23, 2007.
  31. David Dagan, York County legislators slam transit bill, “Central Penn Business Journal,” January 11, 2008.
  32. Brad Bumsted, Expensive projects inflate tolls, gas tax, “Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,” Monday, January 2, 2005.
  33. Peter Samuel, Penn Pike’s Joe Brimmeier trumps state Governor – comes out of fight with growing road portfolio, TOLLROADSnews 2007-07-18 ADDITION 2007-07-19, Frederick MD
  34. Mr.  Geist has a quixotic position when it comes to public a personal debt:  “To avoid a situation of pay inequity amongst the members of the different legislative bodies, the unvouchered expense allowances were used.”
  35. Norman S. Rich, Tolls on I-80 would be hard for grocer to swallow, “Centre Daily Times,” August 14, 2007.
  36. Timothy J. Carson, Turnpike lease of I-80 is best way to fix roads, “Morning Call,” November 23, 2007.
  37. “Analysts and some lawmakers fear that if nothing is done soon, Pennsylvania’s pension liabilities will soar from $584 million last year to $4.2 billion in six years’ time. That’s a 615 percent increase, according to a study by the Pennsylvania chapter of the libertarian think-tank Commonwealth Foundation.”  (Alison Hawkes, Pensions weigh down state, local governments, “Times Capital Bureau,March 26, 2006)
  38. Nathan A. Benfield, policy analyst, Commonwealth Foundation, “Analysis of Act 44,” December, 2007.
  39. “Response to Request for expressions of Interest” to PennDOT dated Dec 22 2006, pp. 5-6.
  40. Ruth Williams, US woes keep local shares in doldrums, “The Age,” January 13, 2008.
  41. Brad Bumsted, Turnpike Commission spends desperately needed cash, “Pittsburgh Tribune,” Monday, January 3, 2005.
  42. U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan’s Federal Grand Jury Indictment of Vincent J. Fumo, (February, 2007, p.45 Number 90 & Number 91.)
  43. Amy Karpinsky, Lawmakers push for funding for expressway link, Herald Standard,” August 27, 2005.


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Eric J. Epstein is RocktheCapital‘s coordinator and a community advocate for good government for over 25 years. Mr. Epstein is also Chairman of the Three Mile Island Alert, Inc., a safe-energy organization founded in 1977; President of EFMR Monitoring Group, Inc., a non-profit economic development corporation established in 1977, and Chairman of the Stray Winds Area Neighbors (SWAN), a smart growth association organized in 2005. Mr. Epstein was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at PSU-Harrisburg (1992-1999) and co-authored the Dictionary of the Holocaust, which was released by Greenwood Press (1997) - Email Eric Epstein

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