The Pennsylvania Turnpike is one of the country's least cost-efficient toll roads, spending a whopping 62.4 percent of its toll revenues on operating and maintenance costs. Of 35 toll roads studied, only the Massachusetts and West Virginia turnpikes spend a higher percentage of their toll revenues on operating costs, according to a new Reason Foundation policy brief by Robert Poole and Peter Samuel.
By comparison, the New York State Thruway has 51 percent more lane miles and handles 83 percent more vehicle miles traveled than the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but its annual costs are $39 million lower.
Over the last seven years the Pennsylvania Turnpike's operating costs have more than doubled from $181 million in fiscal 2000 to $370 million in fiscal 2007. During that same time, the U.S. inflation rate was 23.4 percent, so the Turnpike's costs grew at 4.5 times the rate of inflation.