Now that the private consortium that wanted to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike has withdrawn its offer, Gov. Rendell and other state leaders need to think of alternate ways to fund road and bridge repair. Sorry, but it looks like we might have to pay for it ourselves.
First the feds refused to allow the state to toll I-80. Then the Spanish firm Abertis let its $11.8 billion offer for a 75-year turnpike lease expire at the end of its deadline yesterday. That leaves Pennsylvania without any dramatic new ideas. We may have to resort to some old ones.
An extra penny tacked on to the state's 32-cent per gallon gasoline tax would raise an additional $65 million a year, according to PennDOT. Make that a dime and you've got an extra $650 million -- real money. There'd be grousing by drivers, of course, but it would turn up the heat for greater fuel economy and less car use.
With each of the state's 203 House seats and half of the 50-member Senate on the November ballot, that's not a plan you're likely to hear any sane politician push this fall. But real leaders who want a real solution might want to consider it come January.