The $12.8 billion bid to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike will shrink if interest rates rise, the winning bidders said yesterday.

The private consortium that that Gov. Rendell wants to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike also said that any turnpike workers displaced by new technologies would be retrained and given new jobs on the toll road.

As they begin an uphill struggle to persuade the state legislature to approve the 75-year lease of the turnpike, top officials from Abertis Infraestructuras and Citi Infrastructure Investors yesterday portrayed their offer as more lucrative for the state and cheaper for drivers than a competing plan by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to place tolls on Interstate 80.

The interest-rate provision in the lease contract is designed to protect the consortium from rising interest rates, which would make money more expensive to borrow, said Rob Collins, of Morgan Stanley & Co., the state's financial adviser on the turnpike lease.

Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.