Saturday, April 6, 2013

Turnpike Bonding Promises a Bright Future in Ohio

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

In a state like Ohio, where snow, ice and salt over time cause damage to roadways, it is especially important that we try to stay on top of our infrastructure needs. Governor Kasich recently signed into law a bill that puts in place a plan to fund road projects in Ohio.

House Bill 51 lays out Ohio’s transportation budget for the coming two years. A big part of the bill involves using toll revenues collected from the Ohio Turnpike to fund future infrastructure projects. The state will use that toll revenue to issue $1.5 billion in bonds, which will be matched by local and federal funds for a total of about $3 billion. In a survey of constituents in the 84th House District, 60% favored this approach to funding infrastructure in Ohio.

The bill clearly states that 90 percent of funding must be used for projects that are within 75 miles of the turnpike and on roads that connect to it. This policy was the product of compromise from all sides of the issue in order to keep most of the projects in the northern portion of the state. However, this also will free up revenue raised by the gas tax to be used for other projects across the state.

As stated earlier, the bonds that are going to be sold are going to be paid back from cash flow from tolls. The tolls come from some daily commuters in northern Ohio, but a majority of those who travel the turnpike are passers through. Attracting more business to Ohio will bring more non-local toll dollars which will help Ohio as we improve our infrastructure. That is just one way that job creation can make a positive impact in Ohio. A productive state that provides work will attract new people.

There is no question that the Ohio Turnpike is an asset to the state that must be preserved and maintained. I commend the governor for his innovative ideas and for focusing on the vital need to address transportation and infrastructure.

Passing legislation is kind of like driving down a busy road. There are plenty of stops, turns and detours along the way. Things work most smoothly when we share the road and cooperate with others. I think this bill was a great example of bipartisanship and cooperation, and for that reason the finished product is policy that will allow for needed improvements on our roads and bridges.

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */