As both Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's have downgraded the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, state officials are becoming more skeptical of Act 44 plans for funding transportation infrastructure needs. Still, the PTC continues to move forward with the law's provisions, insisting that the possibility of downgrades was anticipated.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed Act 44 last year, allowing the PTC to issue up to $5 billion of special revenue bonds with no more than $600 million of those bonds to be issued in one year. Under Act 44, the PTC - in a public-public partnership - would lease Interstate 80 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, starting with a $750 million payment this fiscal year, and begin tolling that road, if approved by the federal government. Expected payments total $83.3 billion over the 50-year term of the lease.