COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gov. John Kasich's plan to use the Ohio Turnpike to pay for roadwork around the state will cover most of the $107 million cost of the Martin Luther King Drive-Interstate 71 interchange and help pay for widening Interstate 75 in Hamilton County, Kasich announced Monday.
The new money will allow construction on the MLK interchange to begin next July - 13 years earlier than originally planned, the Ohio Department of Transportation said.
And it will speed up I-75 projects in Cincinnati, according to this new schedule from ODOT:
➢ Reconstructing and widening near I-74 from Hopple Street to Mitchell Avenue. Projected cost: $205.2 million. Construction start date: 2017 (four years earlier than planned).
> Adding a fourth lane at Mitchell Avenue northbound and southbound. Projected cost: $41.1 million. Start date: 2018 (three years earlier than planned).
➢ Adding a through lane at Glendale-Milford and Shepherd Lane near GE. Projected cost: $117 million. Start date: 2016. Keeps project on schedule.
Money from the sale of turnpike bonds will be used to speed up and/or pay for a total of 41 highway and bridge projects around the state.
All told, it adds up to about $3 billion in road projects over the next six years, Kasich said.
"The projects are all high-priority projects for each of the regions," said Greg Murphy, chief of staff for the Ohio Department of Transportation. "Some they've been waiting on for decades."
Construction on the MLK interchange is scheduled to begin next July. Work on I-75 is under way.
Final approval is still needed from the Transportation Review Advisory Committee, which oversees funding for high-cost transportation work.
Lawmakers signed off this year on the governor's proposal to cash in on the turnpike. The state will raise about $1 billion through bond sales backed by future toll revenues.
Kasich said Ohio will be able to move forward with a large number of road projects at a time when other states are raising taxes or struggling to keep up with needed work. He said improving the state's infrastructure will also make it more attractive to businesses and will bring jobs to the state.
"It means we're going to be a much stronger economic artery for America," he said.
The projects include:
> Rebuilding the Interstate 70 and 71 interchange in Columbus and the Interstate 270 and U.S. 33 interchange in Franklin County.
> Construction of a second inner-belt bridge near downtown Cleveland and widening Interstates 77 and 271 in Cuyahoga County.
> The addition of a third lane along Interstate 75 in Toledo and rebuilding an interchange at Interstate 475 and U.S. 20 in Lucas County.
Nearly three dozen multimillion-dollar road projects slated for the coming years were put on hold or delayed in early 2012 because ODOT said there wasn't enough money.
The turnpike financing plan essentially erases a $1.6 billion highway budget deficit.
See more details at the Ohio Department of Transportation website at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/news/Pages/Ohio-Jobs-and-Transportation-Plan-MORE-PROJECTS---FASTER.aspx