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                         June 30, 1998

Voice actualities relative to this news release
are available from the Turnpike’s Information
Broadcast Service by calling 1-800-563-5425


HARRISBURG, PA -- A record 151 million vehicles traveled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike during the 1997-98 fiscal year generating over $345 million in operating revenue and almost $202 million in net earnings. It marked the first time that net earnings have surpassed the $200 million mark in the Turnpike’s 58-year history.

At the same time, on-going efforts to control costs resulted in operating expenses coming in at 1% under budgeted levels for the fiscal year. Actual operating profit for the year was almost 2% more than budgeted. Operating expenses rose by less than 4% over FY 96-97 levels, and since operating revenue outpaced the rise in expenses, net earnings growth exceeded revenue growth.

"Once again our aggressive efforts at cost control and improving expense management have resulted in a solid financial performance," said Turnpike Commission Chairman James F. Malone, III. "Coupled with planning process improvements, such as our 10-year capital plan, we have indeed placed the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on a solid business footing."

Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin said the fiscal year-end figures reflect the success the Turnpike has had in implementing the fiscal and administrative improvements recommended in a comprehensive management study undertaken three years ago.

"We said a few years back that the Turnpike would develop an administrative and managerial structure capable of meeting the challenges of a new century," Durbin continued. "We’ve built that structure and, as a result, we’re providing better, more cost-efficient service to our customers."

For the fiscal year that ended on May 31, 1998, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission collected $345,870,00 in operating revenue, up from the $329,523,000 received during the previous fiscal year. Passenger vehicle revenue increased nearly 4%, while revenue from commercial vehicles rose by almost 6%. Revenue from concessions and property rentals also rose significantly resulting in the Turnpike’s overall operating revenue growing 5% over last year.

Operating expenses rose just 3.7% during the 1997-98 fiscal year, to $158,263,000 from the 1996-97 fiscal year’s level of $152,598,000. Net earnings, which are used to pay debt service and to help finance major Turnpike capital improvements, rose from $190,625,000 in FY 96-97 to $201,842,000 in FY 97-98, an increase of 6%.

"These financial results underscore why the three major credit rating agencies have upgraded the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s bond ratings in recent months," said Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administration Blair Fishburn. "Improvements at the Turnpike are showing up in the bottom line and the financial community has recognized our performance strength. But most importantly, having our financial house in order allows us to deliver the best service value to our customers at the lowest possible cost."


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