One major issue that concerned advocates and drivers was the provision for annual toll increases in the proposed contract. As of 2009, it costs $22.75 to travel 358 miles on the turnpike. The proposed toll increases would have raised that cost to at least $36.40 within ten years.
The proposal also contained many hidden costs. Under the lease proposed by Citi-Albertis, taxpayers would be required to compensate the private company for lost revenue from problems that might reduce toll-paying traffic on the road. For example, certain emergencies that contributed to lost toll revenue would set off a contract clause requiring the state to compensate the company.
The 75-year concession lease also would have meant the loss of accountability and loss of control over transportation policy decisions. The contract would have included a "noncompete" agreement to ensure that the private company had a monopoly, meaning the state could not decide to build another major roadway in the area, no matter how badly needed. The state would be giving up decision-making authority related to a critical part of Pennsylvania's public infrastructure.
An excerpt from USPIRG:
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a major public asset worth billions of dollars, and its day-to-day operation directly impacts the lives of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania businesses rely on the Turnpike to deliver goods to their doors, commuters use it to get to work, and students rely on it to get to and from school. The Turnpike's operation also affects the thousands of homeowners who live nearby (through)...noise and car emissions..., changes in the traffic flow on local roads, billboard placement, or a myriad of other ways local communities can be affected.
Focusing solely on the Commonwealth's short term cash flow problems could significantly impair Pennsylvanian's long term financial health, and negatively impact our transportation policy for decades to come. The Turnpike is more than just a source of revenue; it is a vital component of our public infrastructure, and its operation is a keystone of Pennsylvania transportation policy.