‘Paul’ is tiring of the ‘shakers’

‘Paul’ is tiring of the ‘shakers’

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has turned away an interstate trucker group’s lawsuit challenging the use of Pennsylvania Turnpike toll receipts for non-Turnpike uses, it’s past time for the state Legislature to slay the monster to which it gave birth.

In a nutshell, the Legislature created a voracious predator that forced the Turnpike Commission to turn over millions of borrowed dollars to “The State” to fund things like mass transit.

To pay off the borrowing, the Turnpike has been raising tolls, precipitously, for the last decade and gone deeper and deeper into debt.

Never mind that it’s not much different than an organized scheme to shake down one agency to bail out another, the courts now have consistently sided with the shakers.

Heck, one appeals court even ruled that if the truckers (and, by proxy, any motorist) don’t like it, nobody’s forcing them to use the highway. “Go find some other two-lane state road to tear up,” the courts might as well have said.

(Brings to mind Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto telling the public that if it didn’t like crime Downtown, it should shop in suburban malls.)

Those who have defended the practice keep arguing about the need for “dedicated funding” for mass-transit agencies.

Sadly, we hear woefully little in this constant plea for a dedicated funding source about the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s outrageous costs to operate buses or the sheer scope of the alleged fraud and theft coming to light in Greater Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

And there should be absolutely no new “dedicated” taxpayer funding regimen to these organizations until their labor unions no longer have the right to strike and to extort untold million more out of the public purse.

The days of Peter constantly robbing Paul, and Paul having little or no recourse, is a horrid affront to sound public policy. This assault on taxpayers must stop.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).