Image From ..philly.com
Who says there's corruption problems in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority? Anthony Maniscola. And if anyone knows... he should.

He's a former Turnpike Inspector General and now he's blowing the whistle. He says that despite criminal prosecutions of top Pennsylvania Turnpike officials patronage, pay-for-play contracting and other malpractice continues to be "pervasive." He says the Turnpike should be put under the control of the state Department of Transportation and "run like a real highway agency."

Is Pennsylvania ready for that?

Paul Nussbaum of the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story. He got an exclusive interview with Maniscola and reported the following:

Maniscola concedes that some progress has been made in "rooting out no-show workers, thieving supervisors 'who used the turnpike as their own little Home Depot,' and toll collectors with their hands in the till."

But he said that "at the top, where four politically appointed commissioners rule, much remains to be done."

These political appointees continue to wield significant influence in who gets jobs and contracts at the turnpike, often rewarding political friends and helping raise money for favored political candidates, Maniscola says. They still have the attitude that the Turnpike is "their own little fiefdom."

They firmly resist "transparency," and money continues to be wasted through unnecessary change orders to contracts, Maniscola says.

Bill Capone, the chief spokesman for the Turnpike dismisses the comments as the remarks of "a former employee, recently passed over for a promotion when the commission created its new Office of Compliance and clearly disgruntled..."

Perhaps you recall that earlier this year we discussed ways that states are cutting duplicity and costs for taxpayers...

We've seen a number of states absorb their Turnpike operations into the state DOT including Florida, New Hampshire, Delaware, Massachusetts, Texas and North Carolina.

Kansas is considering the same move and when Gov. Sam Brownback brought it up earlier this year he said such a move would save state taxpayers $15 million over two years.

What do you say, Pennsylvania? Is it time for the state DOT to absorb the Turnpike operations and cut out the 'no-show workers and thieving supervisors', or, would it make little difference?