Ohio Turnpike will not be leased; Commission remains public, independent; Tolls remain low

Ohio Launches ‘Jobs and Transportation Plan’ to fuel critical highway projects.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Dec 13, 2012

Gov. John R. Kasich embarked on a two-day state tour as he, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jerry Wray, Ohio Turnpike Director Rick Hodges and others unveil a first-of-its-kind plan to generate about $3 billion for highway road construction without leasing the Ohio Turnpike and without Turnpike employee layoffs.

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.

“This plan just makes sense as we continue Ohio’s economic resurgence, grow jobs and make our state prosperous once again,” Kasich said. “Billions of dollars in new highway funds further strengthens Ohio’s jobs-friendly climate and keeps our state moving by delivering more projects faster.”

“Bonding against future Turnpike revenue generates enough money to erase our highway budget deficit,” 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.”

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.

“Maintaining public control and an independent Turnpike Commission helps keep tolls low and workers on the job,” Hodges said. “Plus, with this new plan we can get to work rebuilding the entire Turnpike decades sooner than we once had planned.”

"As a businessman very interested in economic development in the region and the entire state, I'm extremely pleased with the governor's plan," said Dan White, president of Norwalk Furniture. "Living near the turnpike I am very much aware of the essential  role it plays in this region. The decision to preserve the integrity of the turnpike while also coming up with an innovative way to fund other critical projects should be applauded."

ODOT has cut the agency’s $1.6 billion highway budget deficit by $400 million thanks to new savings and operational efficiencies, but more money and more innovation is needed.  Money generated from the Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan will help fill budget deficit without raising taxes that would kill jobs. The launch of the new plan concludes a year-long study of options for better using the revenue generated by the Ohio Turnpike.

A copy of the complete study is available by clicking here.

Of all the possible scenarios regarding the future of the Ohio Turnpike that have been put forth in the past year, the Ohio Trucking Association (OTA) officials say they believs Governor Kasich has chosen the best one for all travelers in the state.

"I'm gratified that as a trade association representing a major user of the turnpike, we have had many opportunities to voice our concerns with the Ohio Turnpike Commission, ODOT, KPMG, and the Governor's Office," said OTA President Larry Davis. "They listened to us and that means a lot."

The association, which represents more than 900 trucking and supplier companies throughout the state, believes that the Ohio Turnpike is too great an asset to turn over to an outside company for lease or purchase.

"We have a top‐notch turnpike now with a stable and fairly predictable funding source," Davis said. "It makes more sense to leverage the value of what we already have to better our state's roads and bridges than to roll the dice on an outside operator who may not have the best interests of efficient transportation in mind."

Davis added that the Ohio Trucking Association looks forward to working with all of the governmental entities involved in moving The Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan from conception into reality.

 

Comments

hit the road jack

If you would like to see what happens to a leased toll road go to Indiana,they won't fix the joints in the road won't plow,its just a rough cowpath! not to mention triple rates since they took it over.

Contango

Gov. Kasich = socialist.

Bond issue means more revenue extracted from the pockets of current and future Ohioans, the majority of whom do not benefit directly from the OTP.

Even in "big govt." France, freeways are private and funded with tolls.

hit the road jack

I use the toll roads and know that Ohio's is in the best shape of any I travel on,BAR NONE! the plazas are a lot nicer and well kept,not only that the toll takers are the most friendly of anywhere,they could quit spending money like drunken sailors like the study they done a few years ago on the feasibility and cost of building a toll road from Toledo to Columbus or wherever it was,millions of dollars wasted! yet they whine the toll road isn't making money? get rid of the stupid college educated idiots spending the turnpike commission into oblivion!and don't complain that most Ohioans don't benefeit from the toll road either,I don't have kids in the public schools either,but the last time I looked,I still pay property taxes to public schools.

hit the road jack

Why are people with 2 cents to rub together leaving France?TAXES,to the sum of 80% thats why,do you know anything in France that isn't subsidized without taxes? I doubt it. Do you see or use the new toll roads in Texas? you'll get an eye opener if you do,way too expensive and just what do we pay fuel taxes for?surely not to fund parks,walking paths,sound barrier walls along the Interstate's and so on.You do remember that this toll road was built with bonds too don't you?

Contango

@ hit the road jack:

If you like public tollways so much, ya gotta LOVE Chicago.

No politcal corruption there...

Probably no corruption in the OTP right?

hit the road jack

I never said I liked paying to drive on them,I'm saying that if I have a choice,do not privatize these toll roads,it only gets more expensive and the quality of the roads doesn't improve any. like I said, get rid of the college educated idiot that spent millions of dollars on the study a few years back to study the feasability of another toll road (paid for by the Ohio turnpike Commision) to go to Columbus.

hit the road jack

By the way,have you been out on your favorite Indiana toll road lately? the plazza's are looking like your in texas or mexico.

Contango

TX? When the bonds are paid off, the toll way is free.

Same with the OTP, when the bonds were paid off it shoulda been free.

Fuel-efficient vehicles and a lousy economy have lowered the amt. of gas taxes that the state collects.

Either gas taxes need to be raised or another method of taxation like number of miles driven (black boxes) needs to be enacted.

I thought that all these Progressive eggheads were into mass transit, why is money being spent on roads?

Privatize it. Nem di gelt.

With RINOs like Gov. Kasich and Gov. "Spending" Strickland before him, it's little wonder OH keeps losing population and TX keeps growing.

Dr. Information

Every state that I have ever driven in has either a toll road or some kind of highway pass that you pay monthly toward to use the highway.

2sense

Best road in the state