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 S. Henry, (717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934             January 9, 1998

Broadcast actualities relative to this release
can be obtained by calling the Turnpike's
Information Broadca
st Service at 800-563-5425.

Traffic and Revenue up 4.2% During First Half of Fiscal Year 97-98

Harrisburg (PA) -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today announced that operating expenditures for the first half of the 1997-98 fiscal year were 5.6 percent under budgeted levels while traffic and revenue increased by 4.2 percent during that same time period.

At mid-fiscal year, Turnpike spending of $76,810,000 was almost $4.6 million less than the $81,399,000 budgeted. Meanwhile, year-over-year operating revenue for the first half of the 1997-98 fiscal year grew 4.2 percent, or $7,388,810 to $182,415,112 from June 1, 1997 through November 30, 1997. During the first six months of the 1996-97 fiscal year, operating revenue totaled $175,026,302.

"Two years ago we committed ourselves to improving both the financial and business management of the Turnpike," said Blair Fishburn, the Turnpike's Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administration. "We ended the 1996-97 fiscal year under budget and these latest figures show we are on track for achieving that same objective again this year. Revenue growth remains strong while Turnpike spending is down."

In addition to controlling spending and improving operating efficiency, increasing traffic volumes have contributed to the Turnpike's solid financial performance. A total of 78,969,000 vehicles traveled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between June 1, 1997 and November 30, 1997. That represents a 4.6 percent rise in traffic volume compared to the same period in 1996 when 75,470,000 vehicles used the highway. Commercial traffic posted the strongest gain, increasing 6.6 percent to 9,652,000 vehicles from 9,057,000 during the first half of the 1996-97 fiscal year. Passenger traffic grew 4.4 percent, to 69,318,000 vehicles from the 66,414,000 which used the Turnpike during the first half of the previous fiscal year.

Fishburn said the mild winter weather to date has left the Turnpike with significant stockpiles of salt and anti-skid material. "Every time there is a major snowfall, one which requires 24-hour snow removal, it costs us $1 million per day," Our ability to achieve our budgetary goals remains somewhat dependent on the weather. However, based on results from the first half of the fiscal year, we're on the right track."


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