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.

Don Drumm Studios

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Knight Foundation


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

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

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