Hutchinson Champions Legislation to Dismantle Turnpike Commission

Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango/Butler) today participated in a Capitol news conference supporting legislation to dismantle the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and turn over responsibility for the turnpike to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
“Eliminating the Turnpike Commission may be the single most effective thing we can do to improve road conditions while driving down maintenance costs in Pennsylvania,” Hutchinson said. “The Turnpike Commission is like using a Ferrari with a plow on the front to clear snow-covered roads. It’s expensive, inefficient and unnecessary. It’s time for common sense to prevail in government. We need to eliminate the costly Turnpike Commission.”
Several bills, including one sponsored by Hutchinson, have been introduced in the House calling for the creation of a Bureau of Toll Administration within PennDOT. The legislation also would create a deputy secretary of toll administration within PennDOT that would replace the nine current executive positions within the Turnpike Commission.
PennDOT currently has one executive for every 5,857 miles of state roadway compared to the Turnpike Commission’s one executive for every 60 miles of roadway. PennDOT, which oversees more than 41,000 miles of roadway, has only seven executives. The Turnpike Commission oversees 545 miles of roadway and has nine executives.
“The Turnpike Commission has two more executives and 40,000 fewer miles of roadway,” Hutchinson said. “If you lined up the Turnpike Commission executives along their roadway and spaced them proportionately, a driver traveling at 60 mph would see about one executive an hour as they drove along that road. By comparison, the same driver would have to wait nearly 100 hours before they’d see an executive on a PennDOT road. The simple truth is that PennDOT can manage a much larger network of roads with far fewer executives, and that allows them to stretch a dollar farther.”
The legislation would authorize the newly created bureau to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It also would ensure PennDOT honors all collective bargaining agreement contracts in place between the Turnpike Commission and employee organizations.
The Commonwealth also would assume the debt of the Turnpike Commission’s outstanding bonds and would use the turnpike tolls to repay the debt.
“The commission is failing in its current job of overseeing the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” Hutchinson said. “Recently, it re-applied for federal authorization to enact tolls on Interstate 80. The Turnpike Commission has proven time and again that its authority should not be doubled – it should be eliminated. Failure and ineptitude should not be encouraged and rewarded. The Turnpike Commission should be nothing more than a bad memory.”
Rep. Scott Hutchinson
64th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(814) 677-6363
(717) 783-8188
Contact: Dan Massing
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9845