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Government


Ohio's newest budget includes billions for roads and 70 mph speed limits
Gov. Kasich signs a new transportation budget with much of the money promised for northern Ohio projects
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Governor Kasich is surrounded by Republican and Democratic lawmakers as he signs Ohio's 2 year transportation budget.
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In The Region:
Gov. John Kasich today signed a two-year state highway budget that generates funding for a lot of other roads from Ohio Turnpike tolls.

The state Senate and House both overwhelming approved the bill last week. The budget was signed at a busy suburban Cleveland factory to underscore the importance of land transportation to Ohio’s improving economy.  
NIEDERMIER: Ohio's new highway budget

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Gov. Kasich and Democratic and Republican state lawmakers from northern Ohio, along with some from downstate, gathered on the factory floor where metal parts are made. They talked glowingly about the unusually bipartisan effort that brought the bill to the governor’s desk.

Altogether, the budget is expected to provide $2.5 billion for road construction and repairs statewide and to produce more than 65,000 jobs. And 90 percent of the budget’s $ 1.5 billion turnpike bond issue will be spent on northern Ohio road projects. Larry Davis is head of the Ohio Trucking Association. He says this budget finally provides needed infrastructure improvements without raising fuel costs.

“The first 18 years I was there, I advocated against a fuel-tax increase. And I’ve been talking about getting more money for infrastructure for the last four years. The trucking industry has stood up and said, 'This is the way to do it.' We didn’t want the turnpike leased out, we wanted it to stay in state control.”

Another move truckers applaud is that the new transportation budget increases the speed limit on rural stretches of Ohio’s interstate highways to 70 mph. Gov. Kasich has vetoed one budget item. It’s a provision that would have required the state to reimburse $7.5 million each year to railroads for crossing maintenance.

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