News Feed Item

Auditor General Jack Wagner Says Pa. Turnpike Commission Must Stop Granting Unlimited Toll-free Travel for Employees and Others

Liberal policy has cost more than $7 million in lost revenue  

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that a liberal and inadequate policy gave 7,000 Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission employees and vendors free rides on the turnpike between January 2007 and August 2011 that amounted to at least $7.7 million in lost toll revenue.    

Wagner said the estimate was based on information provided to the Department of the
Auditor General by the turnpike's former chief executive, Roger Nutt.  Wagner said the precise amount of lost revenue could not be calculated because turnpike officials could not or would not separate the requested data into personal or business travel.

Wagner highlighted the lax cost controls in a letter sent today to two Pennsylvania Turnpike officials, Chairman William K. Lieberman and Acting Chief Executive Officer Craig R. Shuey.  The letter accompanied the draft audit report that Wagner provided to the Turnpike Commission for review and comment.  Wagner said he plans to release the final audit report to the public before his term expires next month.

"With tolls set to rise again for turnpike customers on January 6, turnpike executives should stop granting toll-free personal travel to its employees and assure the public that they are doing everything within their power to hold down future fare increases," Wagner said. "This type of waste is disturbing and exhibits a careless disregard for those who foot the turnpike's bills – taxpayers and motorists."

Wagner's letter is available to the public at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.

Wagner said the turnpike's toll-free travel giveaways comes at a time when it is in danger of collapsing under debt due to increased borrowing necessitated by Act 44 of 2007. That legislation, which required the turnpike to provide the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with $450 million a year, has raised the Pennsylvania Turnpike's debt by 200 percent, to $7.8 billion.

"It is unacceptable for turnpike executives to ask the motoring public to foot the bill for this increased borrowing in the form of annual toll increases while they shield themselves from the financial pain by giving themselves free travel," Wagner said.

Wagner said that the toll-free travel was awarded in several ways, including photo identification cards for employees, non-photo cards for contractors and others, and special E-ZPass transponders for employees and others. Wagner's auditors found that the 7,000 people who could ride the turnpike for free represented a 60-percent increase from 1997.

Wagner said that his auditors found the Turnpike Commission reported that it does not monitor its employees' use of E-ZPass transponders and does not have a breakdown of the revenue lost to free personal travel, because it is not segregated from free business travel. In addition, Wagner's auditors found that non-employees such as construction personnel and consultants can ride the roadway for free by showing their Turnpike-provided non-photo ID cards, and the Turnpike does not adequately monitor the use of these cards either. 

Wagner recommended that the Turnpike Commission stop granting personal toll-free travel to its employees; that it aggressively monitor employees' toll-free travel to verify that the toll-free travel is for official work duties only; that it improve its oversight of non-employee toll-free travel usage by, at a minimum, including a photo on its non-employee cards and by requiring commission staff to monitor non-employees' free travel; and that it be transparent about the toll-free travel by posting monthly toll-free travel usage reports on its web site.

Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly.  He is the commonwealth's elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits and special investigations.  The Department of the Auditor General conducts thousands of audits each year.  To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department's website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
As companies adopt the cloud-to-streamline workflow, deployment hasn’t been very seamless because of IT concerns surrounding security risks. The cloud offers many benefits, but protecting and securing information can be tricky across multiple cloud providers and remains IT’s overall responsibility. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Simon Bain, CEO of SearchYourCloud, will address security compliance issues associated with cloud applications and how document-level encryption is critical for sup...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...