TOLEDO, Ohio - The Ohio Turnpike will remain a state asset under a plan unveiled Thursday by Gov. John Kasich. The state will bond against its future toll revenue to provide $3 billion for highway road construction with most of the money, 90 percent, spent in Northern Ohio.
The governor had considered the lease or sale of the 241-mile toll road as a way to gain capital for needed projects but opted for the proposal presented Thursday after a 10-month study.
Key points under the plan include the Turnpike Commission remaining in place and independent, local tolls would remain frozen for 10 years for those using EZ Pass with hikes elsewhere capped at the rate of inflation and there would be no turnpike layoffs.
ODOT currently has $1.6 billion more in highway projects than they have the money to fund them. The revenue, more than $1 billion immediately, would clear the way for many of those projects to move forward.
The state estimates for every $1 billion in new road construction spending, 30,000 jobs are created.
The Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan would generate $1.5 billion in new funds for Ohio highways from bonds issued by the Ohio Turnpike Commission and backed by future toll revenues. Up to an additional $1.5 billion could be generated from matching local and federal funds coming to a combined total of approximately $3 billion for Ohio's major highway construction projects.
"This plan just makes sense as we continue Ohio's economic resurgence, grow jobs and make our state prosperous once again," Kasich said. "Billions of dollars in new highway funds further strengthens Ohio's jobs-friendly climate and keeps our state moving by delivering more projects faster."
"Bonding against future Turnpike revenue generates enough money to erase our highway budget deficit," ODOT director Jerry Wray said. "Combined with ODOT's work to reduce our cost of doing business and improve service to the state's motoring public, this plan puts the resources we need into our major construction budget."