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· October 7, 2011

Questions Raised on Turnpike Privatization

Buried in last weeks Quinnipiac poll was a question on the privatization of the turnpike. This poll revealed that Ohioans are overwhelmingly opposed to Governor Kasich’s proposal to lease the Ohio Turnpike to a private company. According to the poll, Ohio voters oppose the proposal 56-32. Earlier this week several members of Congress also expressed their concern over the use of federal money to pay for consultants to advise the administration on a plan to privatize the Ohio turnpike. These members of Congress noted that privatizing the turnpike would “threaten the job security of over 1,000 Ohioans, and drive up costs for local governments through increased maintenance costs of local roads.” As a result of their advocacy, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that it will be revoking $1.5 million in federal State Planning & Research funds, noting that “details outlined in the current scope of work done don’t meet the intent of the State Planning & Research Funds.” Like Ohio voters, we too have concerns. If the Kasich administration decides to move forward with the awarding of a contract to consultants to advise them on policies related to the Ohio Turnpike, they should keep in mind the impact of the decision on the state of Ohio.  Innovation Ohio encourages the Kasich administration to choose a consultant that will provide them with an honest assessment of the full impact of turnpike privatization. We have several questions that we encourage the Kasich administration to address at they go forward, including: How much will tolls increase? Will the road be maintained? Will adjacent routes see increased traffic and safety concerns? Will the legislature permit money to be spent in other parts of the state? Will a foreign company have control of the roads? Is this proposal constitutional? To read more about why Ohioans should demand answers to these questions, see our unanswered questions report here.

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