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Economy and Business

Report questions turnpike privatization
Ohio Public Interest Research Group study comes ahead of state-commissioned report

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
A new report on privatizing the Ohio Turnpike is due before the end of the year. But critics aren’t waiting. On Thursday, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group released its own report, questioning the need for privatization. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more.
Report wants answers on turnpike privatization

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Since taking office, Gov. John Kasich has been considering the idea of leasing the Ohio Turnpike, or issuing bonds against it, to fill the state’s budget holes. Last month, he said the 241-mile roadway could conservatively bring in $1 billion.
But Tabitha Woodruff, co-author of the new study by the Public Interest Research Group, says the forthcoming state-commissioned report needs to answer several basic questions on the expected revenue.
“We need to know how exactly those funds would be generated. Would they be generated from higher tolls? Well, do we need to privatize to raise tolls? Would they be generated from more efficient maintenance of the turnpike? Maybe converting to electronic tolling? If that’s the case, then why do we need to privatize to implement those cost saving measures?”
Any funds generated by leasing the turnpike could not be used for other projects without a change in state law.
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