The Pennsylvania Turnpike has sent vintage plane flyer Brian Nicholson bills totaling nearly $4,000 for landing on the Mon-Fayette Expressway south of Pittsburgh August 5. Nicholson landed the 1946 Stinson airplane on the tollroad after a chunk of its wooden propeller flew off and the plane was losing forward power.
Former Inspector General calls for disbandment of Penn Pike Commission - patronage, pay-to-play "still pervasive"
2013-09-06: Anthony Maniscola, a former Turnpike Inspector General, says that despite criminal prosecutions of top Pennsylvania Turnpike officials patronage, pay-for-play contracting and other malpractice continues to be "pervasive." He says the Turnpike should be put under the control of the state department of transportation (PennDOT)
2013-07-30: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and other top state officials gathered today at mile marker 353 for a groundbreaking ceremony for work on Stage 1 of the Turnpike big I-95 interchange project. MM353 west of the Turnpike's unconnected bridging over I-95 is the site of a new mainline toll plaza to be the new eastern terminus of the Turnpike's ticket system.
2013-07-29: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioners at their meeting this month approved a January 1 2014 increase in toll rates of 2% for E-ZPass electronic toll transactions and 12% for cash toll payments. For the fourth time since 2011 the Penn Pike is pushing electronic tolls up less than cash tolls.
The average car (Class 1) toll under the new rates will be $2.92 E-ZPass vs $4.49 cash, a $1.57 or 35% discount.
The Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security is investigating possible abuses in handling of EB-5 visa applications by Chinese nationals following a referral from an FBI counter-intelligence analyst, the Associated Press reports. They say President Obama's nominee for the deputy-secretary, #2 slot in the department Alejandro Mayorkas is under investigation for his handling of an investor visa when he was head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services unit of the department.
2013-06-30: Witnesses said repeatedly in the first court hearing of Turnpike corruption charges last week that gifts to Turnpike officials were friendly expressions of gratitude or necessary gestures for doing business there, not bribes or payoffs.
Penn Pike's $200m EB-5 immigrant visa financing a done deal - Pike to pay lender expenses + $200k for 2% loans
2013-05-21: The Pennsylvania Turnpike is in deeper on controversial EB-5 visas-for-investment financing than we indicated in previous reports. It turns out a full loan agreement between EB-5 brokers DVRC Pennsylvania Turnpike LP (DVRCPT LP) and the Turnpike was signed April 26 which commits the Turnpike to borrowing $200 million. Paul Nussbaum of the Philadelphia Inquirer has led on reporting this and we only got a copy of the loan agreement this week.
Our reporting of the criminal charges against top officers of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and state politicians mentioned that most of them were Democrats, but that the corruption was bipartisan. According to the grand jury presentment the bipartisanship of the racketeering was entrenched with an agreed 60/40 sharing of the spoils in which the party in power was entitled to 60% of the jobs and contracts and the opposition party 40%.
Penn Pike - eight charged with corruption including ex-chair Rubin, ex-CEO Brimmeier, ex-COO Hatalowich
2013-03-13: The state attorney general Kathleen Kane has filed criminal charges against five former officers of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, two vendors and a former leading Democrat state senator in so-called pay-to-play corruption. This follows nearly four years of a grand jury and police investigations. The attorney general said that a "pay-to-play culture permeated" the turnpike.
A 370 mile Thanksgiving round trip to a son's place in Princeton NJ and back involved the use of six toll facilities:
- Pennsylvania Turnpike Harrisburg to Trenton
- DRJTBC US1 Trenton
- New Jersey Turnpike southern end
- DRBA Delaware Memorial Bridge
- Delaware Turnpike
- Kennedy Highway and Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, MdTA
The good news is that although traffic was often heavy nowhere did we experience any delays. With our Penn Pike E-ZPass we were able to drive straight through all the toll points.