Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ohio Searches For New Roadbuilding Revenue Sources

Ohio’s Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray announced that, in light of Congressional failure to do anything at all about long term reauthorization of the federal Highway Trust Fund for the last three years, his agency is considering indexing Ohio Turnpike tolls to inflation, or leasing the  241 mile long highway to private operators, as potential means of generating funds for the state’s raidbuilding and other infrastructure construction needs. In his keynote address to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments on March 31, 2012, Wray blamed Congressional inaction on the twin problems of declining fuel tax revenues and state and local long term planning needs for  unfrastructure construction budget pressures in his state.

Besides toll indexing and leasing the Turnpike to a concessionaire, Wray mentioned commercialization of rest areas, bridges and interchanges as an additional revenue source which could provide between $100 million and $200 million annually. With the road construction bidding season opening this month, the Ohio situation is merely the most recent fallout from Congressional foot dragging on long term highway trust fund reauthorization legislation.

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