Bidders Walk Away From Deal To Lease Pennsylvania Turnpike

September 30, 2008

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Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell's push to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike, opposed by key state legislators and the state trucking association, has hit another snag: The group that submitted the winning bid to lease the tollway is not renewing its bid,
which expired at the end of the business day Tuesday.

In May, Pennsylvania Transportation Partners, a collaboration between Citi Infrastructure Investors and Spanish company Abertis Infraestructuras, submitted the winning bid of $12.8 billion to lease the turnpike for the next 75 years. (See "Pennsylvania Could Lease Turnpike in 75-Year Deal,", 5/20/2008)

According to published reports, the partnership said inaction by the state legislature prompted it to drop the deal. Pennsylvania legislators failed to ratify the proposed toll-road lease, and the chairman of the state House Transportation Committee said he would keep legislation to authorize the proposed lease from coming up for a vote.

A spokesman for the partnership said it is open to pursuing another deal next year.

This is the second blow to efforts to improve the state's highways. A few weeks ago, the Federal Highway Administration turned down a proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to place tolls on Interstate 80. (See "FHWA Denies Pennsylvania Plan to Toll I-80,", 9/12/2008)

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