Rendell, transportation sec'y pitch privatization of PA 'pike

Gov. Rendell appeared at a news conference yesterday with U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to plug for privatization of the Pennsylvania Turnpike as a way to raise $1 billion a year for the state's crumbling highway system.

Peters said the Bush administration favors privatization efforts around the country as a way to keep the federal highways in good shape. Rendell hopes for a $1 billion lump sum to get the needed repairs under way.

Street defends candidacy;

ruling expected next week

Milton Street defended his at-large City Council candidacy before a Commonwealth Court judge in Harrisburg yesterday, filing a brief and engaging in oral argument. The judge is expected to rule on the case early next week, Street said.

Cleanup crews at closed Sands sweep up 17G in lost change

The Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City closed last November and cleanup crews rooting around under 2,350 slot machines have turned up more than $17,000 worth of change dropped over the 26 years of its existence.

"We never expected this much," said Carmen Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Pinnacle Atlantic City. "It was just shocking." The money belongs to Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., the Las Vegas company that purchased the Sands last year. New Jersey gets 8 percent in taxes.

A.C. casinos feel no pressure: '06 profits rise to $1.4B

Despite increasing competition from new casino development in Pennsylvania and New York, 2006 was still a good one for Atlantic City's casinos.

Gross operating profits, the most widely accepted measure of profitability in the gambling industry, were up 5 percent for the city as a whole. Gross operating profits were nearly $1.4 billion, up from $1.3 billion in 2005.

After fed audit, N.J. stuck paying 64G for hip-hop summit

The federal government says that $64,514 of the federal funds spent in 2004 and 2005 on two Hip-Hop Summits aimed at encouraging young people to vote needs to be paid by the state.

The New Jersey attorney general's office said the money was disallowed after an audit of federal funds received in New Jersey from 2003 to 2005 to implement the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Hey, April 24, '06 lottery winner: That ticket -use it or lose it

Someone somewhere is about to lose $19 million.

That someone bought a New Jersey Lottery ticket for the April 24, 2006, drawing. The numbers are 05-24-27-28-33-37. The ticketholder has until April 24 to cash it in. After that, it's worthless. *

- Staff and wire reports