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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

New Study Raises Old Idea To Lease The Ohio Turnpike

Ohio Turnpike
Ohio Turnpike

A new study from a libertarian think tank shows Ohio could get $2.9 billion dollars right now if it did something that former Gov. John Kasich wanted to do – lease the Ohio Turnpike.  In the end, the state issued bonds to repair and improve the turnpike and all of Ohio’s roads. But this study says leveraging the road now could provide the state with an infusion of cash when the state is trying to dig out of the economic problems associated with the pandemic. 

The Reason Foundation’s study says leasing the turnpike could yield almost $3 billion dollars. Author Robert Poole says other states are finding global companies and pension funds want to invest in them. He says that money could help when the state cannot afford new infrastructure and it could ensure stability for the turnpike itself. 

“That holds them to performance standards and has penalties if the pavement gets rough and they don’t improve things properly. Typically, it has an annual limit on the toll rate increases.” 

The first company that leased Indiana’s turnpike went bankrupt. But when it was leased again, the new company paid far more, making everyone whole. Critics say there could be problems if control of a valuable Ohio road is given to an outside entity.

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