Governor John R. Kasich and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials announced last week a first-of-its-kind plan to generate approximately $3 billion for highway road construction without leasing the Ohio Turnpike and without layoffs to Turnpike employees.
They say that the 'Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan' would generate $1.5 billion in new funds for Ohio highways from bonds issued by the Ohio Turnpike Commission and backed by future toll revenues. Up to an additional $1.5 billion could be generated from matching local and federal funds coming to a combined total of approximately $3 billion for Ohio’s major highway construction projects.
Most of us live in states where the cost of essential new infrastruture and repairs to existing roads, bridges and highways greatly exceeds current revenue. That's why the Ohio plan warrants your attention whether you live in Ohio or anywhere else.
“Bonding against future Turnpike revenue generates enough money to erase our highway budget deficit,” ODOT Director Jerry Wray said. “Combined with ODOT’s work to reduce our cost of doing business and improve service to the state’s motoring public, this plan puts the resources we need into our major construction budget,” he added.
Details of the Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan include:
No long-term, private lease;
· A continued public, independent Turnpike with expanded authority and renamed the “Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission”;
· More than 90 percent of new bond money will go directly to northern Ohio highway projects, including the Turnpike itself;
· Rebuilding the Ohio Turnpike will occur decades sooner than planned;
· Tolls for local trips paid with an EZ Pass are frozen for 10 years;
· All other toll rates are capped at inflation, which is significantly less than historic toll increases;
· No Turnpike employee lay-offs are anticipated
ODOT shares a link to its new website outlining details of the plan, as well as a link to the study of options for better using the revenue generated by the Ohio Turnpike:
Ohio Jobs & Transportation Plan Take a look and let us know what you think.