Pa. auditor general blasts rising turnpike debt

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner today sounded an alarm over the rising debt piling onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, warning lawmakers that state taxpayers will be called on to bail out debts that benefit Wall Street.

Wagner, a Democrat, rebutted earlier testimony by turnpike commission officials and a financial consultant that the agency can sustain its financial path by raising tolls every year and that it can continue to find lenders.

He told a joint House and Senate Transportation Committee that the proportion of the commission’s debt payments to overall revenue has risen to 47 percent, and likened the turnpike commission’s operations to remortgaging a home to pay off credit-card debts.

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