Mon, May. 19, 2008
Spanish firm offers $12.8 billion to lease Pa. Turnpike
By Paul Nussbaum INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Spanish toll-road operator won the bidding war to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike, offering $12.8 billion for a 75-year lease, Gov. Rendell said today. The proposal by Abertis Infraestructuras, of Barcelona, must be approved by the Pennsylvania legislature, and legislative leaders in Harrisburg have said the plan faces tough sledding with lawmakers.
Option to Rent: Great New Jersey Views, Many Lanes, Tollbooths Included
By KEN BELSON
TRENTON, Jan. 24 - The New Jersey Turnpike has long been the subject of song and an object of scorn. And now Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who earned a reputation as a shrewd negotiator on Wall Street, is thinking seriously about leasing it out, banking on the hope that it and two other toll roads could fetch as much as $30 billion and hold the key to solving some of the state's nagging fiscal difficulties.
Mr. Corzine's need to secure a fiscal Hail Mary pass is evident: budget talks are looming, and other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, are interested in leasing their own toll roads, which could create stiff competition for investors' dollars in this emerging market. He is also mindful that any deal will have to be sold to wary voters.
Following recent leases of toll roads in Chicago and in Indiana, New Jersey is among two dozen states that have either formed partnerships with private groups or passed legislation paving the way for such agreements. But as lawmakers from California to Virginia have discovered, efforts to take toll roads, prisons, lotteries and other state assets private can quickly become mired in political quicksand.
Polls show that voters in New Jersey oppose the idea, and powerful lobbying groups, from commuters and trucking companies to environmentalists and public employee unions, are also skeptical.