Thursday, December 07, 2006

so much for proceeding cautiously

Although I have concerns about granting near-monopoly control of this public asset to private interest, I don't have an issue with the Governor seeking bids for the PA Turnpike (PTC). It will be good for the purpose of monetary valuation and can give us a better idea of how much capital can be made available to address PA's other transportation needs. My primary concern is that the public has the opportunity to weigh in on which offers they prefer and that contracts aren't awarded based on who donates the most to each legislator's campaign.

The dialogue needs to move beyond "Should we privatize/lease this public asset?" to "What terms or conditions make privatization/leasing public assets an option worth considering?"

Citizens need to step up and demand the following:
-The Turnpike should go to PennDOT's coffers and not the PTC. The PTC is only mandated to construct highways while PennDOT's responsibilities include much more (roads, bridges, public transit, airports, etc...). We need to strengthen our balance sheet by maintaining our current assets instead of using this potential cash infusion to expand more.
-The use of eminent domain should only be used where the public will hold on to lands for at least 30 years . We should not be using eminent domain to sieze lands that will then be turned over to private interest in a short period of time.

Any other thoughts?

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