The beleaguered Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is under review for the second time in less than two years.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale acknowledged, it’s unusual for him to audit an agency twice in such a short time.
But he said he has “grave concerns” about the turnpike’s practice of repeatedly raising tolls, largely to pay for its $450 million-a-year obligation to PennDOT.
It also pays hundreds of millions in debt-service on the money it borrows to make those payments.
The money goes toward things like public transportation
“What we want to analyze is their belief … that despite the increase in tolls, they'll have increased traffic,” DePasquale said. “Because the concern is, you increase tolls to the point where you actually start losing revenue.”
He said his office is also trying to get an accurate estimate of the commission’s debt load, and will review its process for awarding construction contracts as well.
Meanwhile, a six percent toll increase is going into effect this weekend — the tenth hike in as many years.
Toll prices have more than doubled since 2009.