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.
Penn Pike's debt-to-fund-handouts model continues to be issue in state legislature - 3 years of insolvency
2012-11-13: State auditor general Jack Wagner said again today in a legislative hearing that the Pennsylvania Turnpike "will go over a financial cliff at some point" unless it is relieved of the obligation to hand over $450 million each year to the state DOT for free roads and transit subsidies. He called the mid-2007 law (Act 44) requiring the payments "a financial noose" around the neck of the Turnpike.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is spending about $8 million to replace its ticket dispensers and readers. 119 entry lanes are getting a new automatic ticket issuing machine (ATIM) cabinet. 148 exit lanes at toll collector booths are getting new ticket readers and receipt printers.
2012-09-26: Barry Schoch the Pennsylvania secretary of transportation said toward the end of a long hearing in the state legislature this week that it would be the "safer" course to repeal Act 44 and lift the burden of debt on the Turnpike and get alternative funding for PennDOT.
Pennsylvania auditor general tells legislators state Turnpike will face bankruptcy within "no more than a couple of years"
2012-09-25: The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will face bankruptcy in "no more than a couple of years" according to the state's Auditor General Jack Wagner speaking to a joint hearing of the transportation committees of the state legislature in Harrisburg Tuesday. Wagner called for an immediate repeal of Act 44 - the 2007 law that committed the Turnpike to $450m/year payments to the state department of transportation, PennDOT.
Hill International, a New Jersey based international engineering company has a contract with the Pennsylvania Turnpike to provide construction inspection and project management services for reconstruction work on the Turnpike - an approx $18m for 6 years of supervisory work, which is between mileposts 39 and 48 in Allegheny Co and involves $205m of mainline work and three bridge replacements.
A bill to allow the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to post 70mph speed limits (HB2119) has passed the House Transportation Committee and now goes to the full state House. Sponsored by Rep Joseph Preston (Dem Allegheny) the bill keeps maximum speeds on state freeways at 65mph.
The existing 65mph maximum on the Turnpike was set in 1995.