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Kaptur attacks Kasich policies

Tom Jackson • May 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur attacked Gov. John Kasich’s transportation policies at Tuesday’s annual meeting of the Erie County Economic Development Corp., saying the governor is neglecting turnpike maintenance and failing to support a passenger rail.

Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat, endorsed the Democratic candidate for governor, Ed FitzGerald, back in August. Kasich is a Republican seeking re-election.

A turnpike spokesman said Kaptur is offering a false picture of turnpike operations. The Ohio Republican Party accused FitzGerald of supporting wasteful spending for passenger trains.

Kaptur, brought in as the keynote speaker for ECEDC, told the several dozen attendees at Kalahari Resort’s convention center, “We need a governor who will give our region full value for the Ohio turnpike”

She told the attendees money raised by the turnpike ought to be spent on keeping it running well and implied the Kasich administration hasn’t done that.

“I have never seen the turnpike with this many potholes” she said.

Kaptur also criticized the governor for failing to support expanding passenger train service in Ohio.

“We need a governor who supports passenger rail in northern Ohio” she said.

Adam Greenslade, a spokesman for the Ohio Turnpike Commission, said communities all over Ohio have been busy trying to fill in potholes after an especially brutal winter.

“We are dealing with the same types of issues” he said.

As for turnpike maintenance, Greenslade released annual figures for capital spending on the turnpike for the past five years: 2009, $51 million; 2010, $50 million; 2011, $96 million; 2012, $89 million; 2013, $97 million; and 2014, budgeted at $101 million.

Those figures include maintenance as well as reconstruction of stretches of the toll road, Greenslade said.

Any suggestions turnpike maintenance is being neglected is “absolutely not true, as you can see from those numbers” he said.

Kasich has been governor since 2011. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, was governor in 2009 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Republican Party is putting a different spin than Kaptur’s on the governor’s decision in 2011 to reject a $400 million grant from the Obama administration for passenger rail service to connect Cleveland to Cincinnati.

“In doing so, Kasich saved Ohio taxpayers from a $17 million-peryear bill to subsidize a train that would run slower than a 1935 New York Central train,” party spokesman Chris Schrimpf stated in a release.

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