After contributing millions of dollars to a host of development projects big and small - including Lincoln Financial Field, the Kimmel Center, the National Constitution Center - the Delaware River Port Authority is finally going to finish painting the bridges it maintains.
To cover the cost, the agency first wants to raise tolls from $3 to as much as $5. Perhaps if DRPA hadn't racked up more than $1 billion in debt, in part to help finance questionable pet projects, motorists wouldn't be facing a 67 percent toll hike.
Nothing against the Linc or the Kimmel Center. But DRPA's mission is to take care of the bridges connecting New Jersey and Philadelphia and to maintain the PATCO High-Speed Line.
Instead, the DRPA board has tried to play Donald Trump doling out cash. Well, they should've tried out for
To be fair, the bulk of the $1.2 billion in debt was spent on the bridges and PATCO. But about $300 million went to so-called "economic development" projects.
As a result of the borrowing, DRPA now pays 42 cents of every dollar it collects on debt maintenance. By comparison, the agency that oversees bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey spends 14 cents of every dollar to pay its debts.
Fortunately, most of the big spenders have left the DRPA board. But the pet projects remain. There's still $57 million budgeted for a tramway linking Camden and Philadelphia.