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.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Greater Akron Chamber


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
Economy and Business


Ohio transportation officials are not sold on the idea of leasing turnpike
Some critics of the idea are questioning what the quality of the turnpike will be if this occurs
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
In The Region:

The Ohio Department of Transportation trucked in a speaker from next door in Indiana, to talk about how Indiana’s lease of its turnpike is paying off for that state. But as Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, critics of the lease idea still aren’t ready to say “go”.

Kasler on the toll road lease

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:45)


Kasler on the toll road lease short version

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:00)


Several hundred engineers, county officials and others in the transportation officials from around the state at a conference in Columbus got a briefing not on Ohio’s turnpike status, but on how the leasing of the toll road in Indiana is going.

“The lease of the Indiana toll road in 2006 is good for Indiana, and it’s positioned us for strong economic performance.”

Michael Cline is a commissioner with the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“Our toll road is currently being maintained and operated very well by our concession company. And I’ll note that many people that were originally skeptical of the transaction have come around to and acknowledged that, you know, this was a good deal for Indiana.”

Cline addressed some issues that he called “myths” - for instance, that the toll road isn’t being maintained. He says $385 million has been spent on the road in the last six years. And he called reports that toll rates have doubled since 2006 another myth. His chart showed the toll for the length of the turnpike was the same from 1985 to 2006 – $4.65. People with electronic toll passes – who comprise about 70% of drivers on that toll road – still pay that same rate, and will because of a rate freeze till 2016. But for those without the electronic passes, the toll is now at $9.40 – more than twice the rate before the lease. There were some attendees who quietly suggested if this was a sales pitch for leasing the Ohio Turnpike, they weren’t totally sold. One person not quietly saying it is Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.

“The Indiana toll road is a disaster.”

Traficanti owns a trucking company, and says he’s heard horror stories about maintenance problems on the Indiana toll road. And he doesn’t like to think about those stories playing out in Ohio.

“We have enough accidents now and God forbid if somebody would take that over, whoever that entity would be, they’re not held to the same standards as a turnpike that’s basically maintained through the state government. There are different things and different standards that are held up that we have to follow by law, so I really believe the quality would not be there.”

ODOT director Jerry Wray says there are options for the turnpike – ODOT could make no changes, it could take over the turnpike from the Turnpike Commission and sell bonds, or it could lease the turnpike to a concessionaire, as Indiana has done. But Wray says the state’s plans will be revealed soon.

“We’re going to have, our study from KPMG will be complete about the second week of November. And based on that, we’re going to make a decision and have a proposal for the general assembly right after the first of the year.”

And Wray says no one should assume that because Cline was brought to Columbus to talk about Indiana’s setup, that means Ohio will be doing the same thing. But back in Mahoning County, Anthony Traficanti is still worried.

“I would certainly want to hope that we have input as to whatever the outcome of this is going to be. But once it’s in the legislature, I don’t know if hearings will be held. I don’t know how that will play out politically.”

Wray says he’s come to northeast Ohio more than 80 times to talk to local officials and citizens’ groups about their turnpike concerns, and feels he’s been able to tip some who were negative on a lease into a neutral position. Traficanti says he hasn’t met with Wray – but would welcome a meeting – but remains firmly opposed to any leasing of the turnpike to an outside operator.

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 politicians rally against Planned Parenthood
The baby cries out....I am a person too! ... at least do not sell my heart. In an abortion there are three parties involved...the mother, the father and the ch...

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

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