Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

  C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

         Contact: Lowman Henry 717-939-9551 Ext. 2934                            January 2, 1997


        Harrisburg -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's aggressive efforts to cut costs are beginning to yield results as the superhighway ended the first half of its 1996-97 fiscal year significantly under budget. Moreover, spending during the first two quarters of the fiscal year actually decreased by $1 million or 1.4% from the same period last year.
        Last May the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission adopted its first budget in 36 years which called for spending to decrease. The 1996-97 budget plan provided for $81,972,000 in operating expenditures during the first two quarters of the fiscal year. Actual operating expenditures were even lower, totaling just $71,257,000, which is nearly $11 million under the projected spending level.
        Mid-fiscal year financial reports also show both traffic and revenue have increased over last year's levels. During the period June 1, 1996 to November 30, 1996 Turnpike operating revenue was $175,026,000, up from $169,451,000 during the same period last year.
        A total of 75,471,000 vehicles travelled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between June 1, 1996 and November 30, 1996. That is a 3% increase in traffic volumes from the same six month period in 1995 when 73,270,000 vehicles utilized the Turnpike. The number of passenger vehicles increased from 64,573,000 last year to 66,415,000 this year. Likewise, the number of commercial vehicles driving on the Turnpike increased from the 8,698,000 commercial vehicles which used the highway from June 1, 1995 to November 30, 1995 to the 9,056,000 commercial vehicles which travelled the Turnpike during the same time frame this year.
        "We have said all along the Turnpike could be operated more efficiently and costs could be cut," said Executive Director John T. Durbin. "These figures show that our cost reduction efforts are yielding results." The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is in the process of implementing a management reorganization plan developed by the Philadelphia management consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche.
         The Turnpike's biggest challenge in staying under budget could be the weather. "Every time there is a major snowstorm that requires a 24-hour snow removal operation it costs us almost $1 million," Durbin explained. "We are well stocked with salt and anti-skid materials and our snow removal budget is in good condition so far, but the worst of winter still lies ahead."


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649