With some still casting around the state advocating the cashing out of our turnpike, I wish to reiterate my opposition to selling or leasing our Ohio Turnpike to outside interests. The Turnpike is an important segment of Interstate 80-90 and rightfully belongs to those who paid for it -- the people of Ohio and the United States. First designated as U.S. 80-90 by the U.S. Congress as part of our national defense highway system, the turnpike has been paid for by the public many times over. Why would we sell or lease it to any private--and likely foreign--interest to which our children would then owe principal and interest for generations?
Rather than outsourcing Northern Ohio's key land transportation asset, the Ohio Turnpike Commission and the legislature should help grow our regional economy by broadening the Turnpike's legal authority, reinvesting our asset to our own benefit. Allow the Turnpike to spur economic development across Northern Ohio, not only for vehicle transportation but as the main artery in a high speed transit/fiber-optic/alternative energy corridor. Direct back to our Turnpike corridor some of the $1.3 billion of federal gas tax dollars that are returned to Ohio every year, but diverted by Ohio from our corridor to cross-state "freeways" to our south like U.S. 30 and Interstate 70. With the opportunities presented by 241 miles of right-of-way across the northern tier of Ohio, it is no wonder giant foreign corporations would want to get their hands on it, just as they did in Indiana.
It's wrong to make the same mistake in Ohio. Leverage this key infrastructure asset to benefit the people of northern Ohio and America. They, after all, have paid the bills all these years. They own it. That's what the proponents of privatization conveniently forget.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur