HARRISBURG -- A statewide panel wants ideas from private companies interested in managing and operating Pennsylvania's traveler-information systems now run by the state.
The Pennsylvania Public-Private Transportation Partnership board gave PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the green light Wednesday to solicit proposals.
It could lead to the privatization of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's system that provides warnings of traffic delays, weather forecasts, average speeds and other information about major highways via telephone and the Internet. The Turnpike Roadway Information Program provides similar updates for turnpike travelers.
PennDOT said the panel is looking to the private sector for technology that would improve services while saving taxpayers' money.
"With innovation in the marketplace happening at a lightning pace, a public-sector entity such as PennDOT cannot take full advantage of the latest advancements, so we will challenge the private sector to provide us with a solution that allows us to do just that," said Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch.
The initiative dovetails Gov. Tom Corbett's efforts to privatize the sale of liquor and wine and his exploration of whether to hire a British firm to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery, one of the nation's largest, in the hope of generating more revenue for programs that help older residents.
PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar said no timeline has been set. He said the review of travel-information proposals would take at least a year.