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 Orlando FL area toller OOCEA has a major refinancing in the works - to take advantage of low interest rates and reduce its exposure to an increase in rates. Some $463m of debt is being refinanced and some swaps are being terminated. Total debt of OOCEA is some $2.6 billion.
Fitch and S&P rated the new bonds A, Moody's A2. Moody's has a 'negative' outlook for OOCEA because of the state of the economy and the area's dependence on discretionary entertainment and tourist travel. Fitch and S&P have the toller's outlook 'stable.'
2012-08-28: Preliminary $-numbers for fiscal year 2012 show the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's (PTC) debt now standing at close to $8 billion, a near threefold increase over the past five years. In FY2007 total debt was $2.71b, while at end FY2012 it was $7.95b - 2.95-fold higher.
New Jersey's transportation trust fund debt is growing rapidly and debt service leaves almost nothing from traditional gas tax and registration fees revenues - shown dramatically in bar charts of the state legislature's office of legislative services analysis of the DOT budget (p26, p23.)
Pennsylvania Turnpike "drowning in debt," faces bankruptcy if legislature doesn't repeal imposts - state auditor generalBy Peter Samuel on January 5, 2012
The Pennsylvania state auditor, Jack Wagner says the Turnpike is "drowning in debt" and faces bankruptcy if the state doesn't cease bleeding it for cash. The Turnpike Commission he writes "is sinking in debt because of financial obligations the General Assembly placed on it through Act 44 in 2007."
State governments can be rough lenders. Late last month Tampa Hillsborough (Toll) Expressway Authority (THEA) faced a state budget that demanded it provide $69m to support state DOT road projects in the coming financial year. This was a sudden demand to repay about two third of outstanding debt of the toll authority to the state incurred before 2002.
Massachusetts senate president Therese Murray (Dem) put out a statement today that got her headlines in Boston such as "Murray vows no toll increase on Turnpike." Her statement is headed up: "Senate will not support toll hikes". She fiercely attacks the state Governor Deval Patrick (Dem) claiming he had made a "threat" Tuesday to raise tolls, accusing him of "scare tactics."
Massachusetts Turnpike CEO Alan LeBovidge says there is "no way the Mass Pike can handle the costs" imposed on it by the untolled Big Dig. And apparently reflecting on the Patrick administration and the state legislature he says he sees "no appetite" for putting tolls on it.
These comments are published this morning in an interview with transport reporter Casey Ross in the Boston Globe:
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is running up way larger debt to fund I-80 lease payments to the state than so far disclosed, according to calculations by the Commonwealth Foundation, a Harrisburg thinktank which is doing major research and publicity in favor of the private sector lease.
Dulles Gway battles on