News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


U.S. companies bid to guide Ohio in any turnpike deal
The state will pick a consultant to develop a possible lease for the Ohio Turnpike

by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 

Companies across the country are bidding to develop the plan the state may use if it decides to privatize the Ohio Turnpike. The lease could bring in as much as 2.5 billion dollars for the state at a time when it needs the money. But Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports there are questions about whether a turnpike deal is the right thing right now.

U.S. companies bid to guide Ohio on its Turnpike lease

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:50)


The turnpike lease isn’t a done deal. Ohio Department of Transportation director Jerry Wray says the Kasich administration is still looking into whether to privatize the turnpike, lease it in full or in part, or just selling bonds against the revenue from the turnpike. But one thing is certain, Wray says – this is more than one-time money. 
Untitled 20 14 seconds 
“We’re looking at first of all a short term lease – something in the 30 to 50 range – and we’re looking for a lump sum payment in the beginning with a percentage of tolls for the life of the lease.”

And there’s another thing that’s certain, says Gene Krebs with the think-tank Greater Ohio. The former Republican state lawmaker says ODOT is teetering on the edge of a pending fiscal collapse. 
“Between now and 2017, ODOT is due to have – according to their own business plan – a $1.5 billion deficit. My figures are $3.9 billion, and it may even be much worse than that.”

Wray admits there’s trouble ahead for his agency. 
“We are facing a crisis and mostly the crisis relates to federal funding. Most people don’t understand that we are a state administered but federally driven program. We depend upon federal money.”

Right now, Wray is worried about a major transportation funding bill held up in a congressional stalemate over funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. The deadline to pass that bill is September 30. And he says for the first time in Ohio history, Ohio could get less from the feds this time than last time. But rushing to privatize the Turnpike while Ohio waits on that federal funding is ridiculous, says one critic. 
“How can someone say we should deal with something that is a short-term issue – where Congress may have trouble passing a transportation budget – by leasing an asset for 40 years?”

Zach Schiller is with Policy Matters Ohio, which has produced reports critical of privatization of the turnpike, state prisons and other assets. Schiller says he can’t imagine how a lease could help if the Congressional deadline passes at the end of next month and the contract process is just beginning. But Krebs says the turnpike lease may be the best of a bunch of bad solutions to the problem that gas tax revnue that pays for roads is down because cars use less fuel and younger people aren’t driving as much, and road construction costs are still huge. 
“The question is, if you don’t undertake some things to structurally change how ODOT approaches these things, where the money’s going to come from, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Schiller says that’s something to think about…. 
“…..Which isn’t to say that we don’t have a very real question of how are we going to provide the necessary funding for our transportation needs. We have to decide that. But we aren’t going to easily do so with a turnpike privatization.”

But Wray says the situation is simple and immediate. 
“Certainly we’ll have a robust discussion on how we can use that money. However, if we don’t do something with the turnpike, we can have a robust discussion about what we’ll do with nothing.”

Critics have blasted the privatization idea, citing concerns about higher tolls and rising traffic on other roads from drivers and truckers who want to avoid those tolls.  But Wray says a potential contract will be written to prevent dramatic hikes in tolls, and says it will also allow the state to keep the power to take back the turnpike if the deal isn’t working.

Listener Comments:

Kasich is creating a financial doomsday scenario with the federal transportation money just to promote his Turnpike lease deal. He inflated the Ohio deficit to shove SB5 down are throats the same way. The people of Ohio need to wake up and oppose this Governor and all of his wealthy cronies before he completely destroys the middle class.


Posted by: Kevin Huzjak (Canfield Ohio) on August 28, 2011 8:08AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Could University Circle developments ripple into East Cleveland?
Outsiders are so far off the beaten path and you all need to attend the meeting being held today 8/31/15 Cleveland Public Library, 1:00 PM. http://44112news.co...

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University