As The Inquirer's Paul Nussbaum wrote today, Gov. Rendell is calling a special session of the General Assembly to cook up ways to pay for half a billion dollars in bridge, road, bus, train projects that were supposed to be financed by renting out the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Citigroup and big Spanish road companies (which legislators wouldn't approve) or tolling I-80 (which the federal government won't allow.)
What'll they try next? How about "public private partnership" that bring in private money to fix up local roads, in exchange for letting private companies collect tolls on your local bridge or bypass? What Rendell attempted with the Turnpike, but on a more local level? State transportation boss Allen Biehler appeared to endorse these private-company partnerships in yesterday's Harrisburg Patriot-News. A recent Pocono Record editorial approvingly quoted lawyer Frank Rapoport, of McKenna Long & Aldridge, Devon, lobbying for changes in state law that would make this easier.
Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma tells me his boss hasn't committed to tolls, partnerships, higher fuel taxes, surcharges, or any other particular course of action. He wants the Senators and Reps to figure that out.