HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is sounding an alarm over the rising debt piling onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Wagner told a joint House and Senate Transportation Committee hearing Tuesday that the commission's plan to raise tolls each year to help pay for bridge repairs, road work and mass transit is backfiring.
Wagner says the commission's debt has risen from $2.5 billion in 2007 to $7.8 billion since a 2007 law that requires the turnpike commission to make an annual $450 million payment to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
PennDOT spends about $5 billion on highways, bridges and transit, including federal money and the turnpike payment. But studies say billions more are needed to adequately finance transportation needs, which include a system of aging and crumbling bridges.
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