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Legislators want audit of Pa. Turnpike Commission

Rep. Scott Conklin, a Democrat from Centre County, plans to introduce a resolution before the Legislature’s spring recess calling for a full audit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said Tor Michaels, Conklin’s chief of staff.

Rep. Scott Conklin, a Democrat from Centre County, plans to introduce a resolution before the Legislature’s spring recess calling for a full audit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said Tor Michaels, Conklin’s chief of staff.

The resolution, which has 11 sponsors, would charge state Auditor General Jack Wagner to audit the commission, Michaels said. The sponsors want to make sure taxpayer money is being well spent and the commission is using best practices before it becomes responsible for Interstate 80, he said. The scope of the audit would be left to Wagner, Michaels said.

Act 44 proposes to toll I-80 to fund transportation initiatives in the state. It also gives the turnpike commission control over the highway. Tolling I-80 requires approval from the federal government. Conklin voted against Act 44 last summer.

He also introduced a bill in January to provide up to $500 in tax credits to Pennsylvania residents that use the E-Z Pass electronic-toll system on the turnpike and I-80, if that highway is tolled, Michaels said. The proposal is House Bill 2166. It has been referred to the House Finance Committee for review.

Rep. Michael Hanna, a Democrat representing part of Centre County and Clinton County, also introduced legislation to ease the burden of tolls.

House Bill 2226 would make economic-development tax credits available to businesses affected by tolls on I-80. Businesses would be able to apply for credits to cover expenses incurred when I-80 is turned into a toll road, according to the bill introduced in January.

The state House has not yet acted on the bill.

Hanna was unavailable for comment.

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