Tuesday, July 23, 2013

$3B Kasich transportation proposal would speed up MLK, I-75 projects

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has unveiled a $3 billion plan to improve the state's transportation infrastructure, which could remove delays in getting more than three dozen projects built, including a new and the expansion of I-75.

Under Kasich's Jobs and Transportation Plan, the funding would be spread out over six years. Half of the funding would come from bonds backed by toll revenues, which would be applied to projects in northern Ohio – freeing up other funding for projects in other parts of the state.

The state's nine-member will vote on the plan's draft list of projects on Thursday. TRAC will vote on a final list of projects in August.

"By thinking outside the box we're attacking Ohio’s highway budget deficit without a tax increase and keeping Ohio's highways in top condition," Kasich said in a prepared release. "Our agriculture, manufacturing and logistics industries, as well as so many others, depend on our world class highway system for their success and the $3 billion in new funds made possible from our plan keeps them moving so Ohio's economic recovery can keep moving."

Locally, Kasich's plan would help fund the $107.7 million I-71/MLK interchange and would allow for construction to begin next year, rather than 2027. Funding also would be available for the $246 million fifth and seventh phases of the I-75 Mill Creek Expressway project and the $116.7 first phase of the project on I-75, eliminating four and 12 years of delay, respectively.

Many of these projects were delayed in early 2012 when ODOT Director Jerry Wray pushed back dozens of statewide projects due to a $1.6 billion departmental budget shortfall. But in June 2012, Wray announced that $400 million had become available over the next five fiscal years as a result of increased department efficiency, workforce and vehicle fleet reduction, higher than anticipated gas tax receipts, and the elimination of federal earmarks.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich

Previous reading on BC:
State board approves $4.2M for I-71/MLK property acquisition (7/11/13)
Two Uptown development control districts extended through May 2014 (7/5/13)
Development controls established in two Uptown districts (4/29/13)
Hopple interchange work begins (3/5/13)
TRAC accepts 2014-2017 draft for road projects, accepting public comment (12/21/12)