Auditor General warns lawmakers over Turnpike finances

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 30, 2012 6:52 AM

interstatesmall.jpg(Harrisburg) -- The state's elected fiscal watchdog says the Turnpike's financial health is in jeopardy.

Auditor General Jack Wagner says the toll roadway's debt has balooned from $2.6 billion to $7.3 billion dollars in the past five years.

"The Turnpike, quite frankly, isn't going to survive if this continues," Wagner says during testimony to state lawmakers.

Turnpike Commission CEO Roger Nutt says there's no financial crisis.

"We have developed a sound, fiscally responsible approach, meeting all of our financial obligations," Nutt says.

He adds the revenue from annual toll increases will eventually surpass the commission's yearly debt payments of $35 million.

Wagner suggests lawmakers repeal a 2007 law requiring the Turnpike to make annual payments of $450 million to PennDot for transportation projects.

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