Rendell first proposed leasing the 570-mile toll road last Mayafter an analysis by Morgan Stanley said a lease would generate themost revenue out of three transportation funding options. Thegovernor is now touting a lease as a source of alternate funding toAct 44, which the Pennsylvania Legislature approved in July toproduce new transportation revenue.

Under Act 44, tolls on the turnpike would increase and tollswould be charged for the first time along Interstate 80 throughPennsylvania, for added revenue averaging $945 million per year forthe first 10 years. Sections of I-80 through Ohio and Indiana aretolled.Turnpike tolls under a leasing arrangement would be the sameas under Act 44, "so there will be no additional cost totravelers," Rendell said in a statement. However, one purpose forleasing the turnpike would be to limit the rate of toll increaseson the roadway along with eliminating the need to toll motoriststraveling I-80. Toll increases under the leasing scenario would belimited to 2.5% annually, while under Act 44 the annual increasecould be considerably larger without a lease in place.

Bridge repairs represent one area where the potential revenuegenerated by a turnpike lease could be meaningful. Constructioncontracts for bridges in Pennsylvania exceeded $700 million in2007, compared to $250 million in 2002. "But for every two bridgeswe fix, three more reach the point where they also need repairssince the average age of our 25,000 state-maintained bridges inPennsylvania is 50 years," the governor said in the statement.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.