Turnpike bonds speed up road projects

Money will jump-start 27 transportation projects in northern Ohio over next two years
Associated Press
Jul 23, 2013

Highway and bridge construction projects that likely would have been on the shelf for a decade or longer across Ohio are moving to the front of the line now that the state is going forward with Gov. John Kasich's plan to use the Ohio Turnpike to raise money for roadwork.

Money from the sale of bonds will jump-start 27 transportation projects in northern Ohio over the next two years and will free up cash for another 14 projects in central and southern Ohio. All told, it adds up to about $3 billion in road projects over the next six years, Kasich announced Monday.

"The projects are all high-priority projects for each of the regions," said Greg Murphy, chief of staff for the Ohio Department of Transportation. "Some they've been waiting on for decades."

The wide-ranging list of construction projects will touch all corners of the state and will include plans for adding lanes on several interstate highways and rebuilding several congested interchanges.

Work is slated to begin in 2014 or the next year on most of the 41 projects. Final approval is still needed from a state panel that oversees funding for high-cost transportation work.

Lawmakers signed off this year on the governor's proposal to cash in on the turnpike. The state will raise about $1 billion through bond sales backed by future toll revenues.

Kasich said Ohio will be able to move forward with a large number of road projects at a time when other states are raising taxes or struggling to keep up with needed work. He said improving the state's infrastructure will also make it more attractive to businesses and will bring jobs to the state.

"It means we're going to be a much stronger economic artery for America," he said.

The projects include:

— The addition of a third lane along Interstate 75 in Toledo and rebuilding an interchange at Interstate 475 and U.S. 20 in Lucas County.

— Construction of a second inner-belt bridge near downtown Cleveland and widening Interstates 77 and 271 in Cuyahoga County.

— Rebuilding the Interstate 70 and 71 interchange in Columbus and the Interstate 270 and U.S. 33 interchange in Franklin County.

— Widening Interstate 75 in Hamilton County and building a new interchange at Interstate 71 and Martin Luther King Drive in Cincinnati.

Nearly three dozen multimillion-dollar road projects slated for the coming years were put on hold or delayed in early 2012 because the state's transportation department said there wasn't enough money.

The turnpike financing plan essentially erases a $1.6 billion highway budget deficit.

 

Comments

eriemom

What buddy on MLK Drive needs the access to Route 71?

Webster

Only a true liberal would find fault for a program that improves our highways, creates jobs without the local taxpayers footing the bill.

tcj1985

The bulk of this money should be spent in northern Ohio (since that's where the turnpike is) and it appears that's what will happen. 27 northern Ohio projects versus 14 southern Ohio projects (perhaps a bit too generous for the southern half of the state?). In addition to roads, some of this money should also fund other transportation needs (freight/passenger railway upgrades, public transportation funding, sidewalks, etc.).

The Big Dog's back

I love that my turnpike fees will pay for road construction for the wealthy county of Hamilton and the wealthy city of Cincinnati.

KnuckleDragger

Surely you jest. Cincinnati and Hamilton County wealthy. LMAO! When was the last time you spent time in Cinci?

Sam

Big dogs problem is that the Republican state government is doing what all dems never did, create jobs, improve roads without taxpayer dollars.

The Big Dog's back

Without taxpayer dollars? You really didn't just say that. So non taxpayers drive the turnpike. Who knew? Glad you're OK with Northern Ohio money going south.

Sam

Pooch, its a user's fee that people choose to pay to use the turnpike, you know choice, something dems know little about. The majority of it is earmarked by law for the northern counties, once again facts getting in the way of your agenda. Suggestion contact one of our statewide dem state elected officials if you don't like it, oh I am sorry there aren't any statewide dem state officials, keep up the good work.

The Big Dog's back

My agenda? Northern Ohio money going South. Fact! No agenda except for kassick's agenda.

pntbutterandjelly

Fees, surcharges, tolls....all are taxes under different names (guises). And ...whatever happened to the Turnpike becoming "toll free"?

arnmcrmn

Not really. I can CHOOSE to get on the turnpike and pay the toll or not. Im not forced to pay a turnpike toll tax.

The Big Dog's back

IT'S A TAX!

arnmcrmn

The state will raise about $1 billion through bond sales backed by future toll revenues.

Not a tax...but carry on troll.

Contango

Re: "Money from the sale of bonds will jump-start 27 transportation projects in northern Ohio over the next two years and will free up cash for another 14 projects in central and southern Ohio."

Public and private employee pension funds, mutual funds, private equity fund mgrs., individuals, et al. will potentially buy these bonds.

The dumbed-down libers complain about the lack of infrastructure spending and then b*tch and whine when funding is proposed. :)

The Big Dog's back

TAX!