Finance - May 18, 2012

PA Legislature may consider bill to increase turnpike speed      

The Harrisburg Patriot News reports that Rep. Joe Preston has introduced legislation to increase the speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  The bill calls for the speed limit to be raised from 65 to 70 mph.  Just last week the House Transportation committee voted the bill from committee.  The Patriot News reports that while it’s unclear whether the full House will see the bill anytime soon; House Republican Caucus spokesman, Steve Miskin, noted that “House Republican leaders are reviewing it.” 

The bill would give the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the option to raise the speed limit; it would not automatically raise the speed limit on the entire length of the turnpike.  The Turnpike Commission has yet to take a position on the legislation and has noted that such a “change wouldn’t happen overnight,” the traffic-safety engineering studies that would need to be conducted be first would take months. Recent safety statistics citing speeding as, still, a leading cause in fatal crashes may also be a factor in moving the legislation forward.

Mid-Atlantic casino market becoming inflated

With the opening of a new casino near Baltimore, Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic casino market is becoming crowded reports the Press of Atlantic City.  There are now “27 casinos within 150 miles of Philadelphia, including 12 in Atlantic City.”  The growth has been good for Pennsylvania, which has seen a steady increase in gambling revenues, which were up 21 percent in 2011.  But with the increases in Pennsylvania come the downfall of the Atlantic City casino market.  Revenue had peaked in 2006 and fell from $5.2 billion to just $3.3 billion last year.  PA residents who used to have to travel to Atlantic City to gamble can now stay closer to home and keeping that revenue in the Commonwealth.  As the gaming industry continues to grow in the Mid-Atlantic region and even in the Northeast, it remains to be seen how some of the well established markets will continue to fair.