Indiana: A lesson to Ohio on possible turnpike lease - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Indiana: A lesson to Ohio on possible turnpike lease

Updated:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Six years after the state of Indiana turned its toll road over to a private company, there are still mixed opinions on whether it was a good idea.

Ohio is now thinking about doing the same thing.

21 News is taking a closer look at the idea and if Ohio could learn from its neighboring state.

Talk of possibly leasing the Ohio turnpike to a private company is raising concern among local legislators. "All we're doing is taking one time money in a lease in order that we can make our current administration and current politicians look good," said State Representative Ron Gerberry. "It's wrong."

In conversations with members of the local legislative delegation, all expressed doubts regarding the lease.

The group fears the turnpike will remain under the control of a private company for years after the state has spent the cash from the lease deal, and that would tie up a valuable state resource for decades.

In Indiana, opponents point to the fact that the state could spend the $3.8 billion from their deal within 10 years. But supporters argue the state has also set aside $500 million in a trust fund that's expected to generate $50 million in interest each year.

Local elected officials also worry about whether the cash for the road and bridge projects will be distributed fairly among Ohio's 88 counties and if northern Ohioans who regularly use the toll road will get a fair amount.

"Now we have the people of Cincinnati, and the people of Columbus and the people of Dayton," Gerberry said. "They're going to reap the benefit of our investment in northern Ohio."

Indiana created a formula to distribute the money for improvement projects that relies heavily on how much drivers use the toll road in a particular county.

Other concerns among the local Ohio representatives are a spike in tolls and drop in maintenance.

"It has been safe, it's been well maintained and it's been protected," said State Representative Robert Hagan. "I don't think we need to do anything. Why do anything to something that works well?"

A spokesperson for Governor Kasich said, "There are two choices. We can explore options for the turnpike to help our state and economy move forward, or we can bury our heads in the sand and do nothing while our roads and bridges deteriorate."

Currently the toll road is being studied by a consulting firm hired by the Kasich administration. Once the study is released, Jerry Wray, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, says it will give the state a better idea of how they can profit off the road, whether it's privatizing, issuing bonds against it, or looking at some other avenue.

According to Wray, Ohio would want a shorter lease than Indiana, perhaps 45 to 50 years.

According to an Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study funded by the Federal Highway Administration, it would take at least 50 years to reach the $2.4 to $3 billion windfall they say is targeted by the Kasich Administration.

"Whatever we do, we will be sensitive to what happens to the tolls, what happens to the condition of the road, and we will be very prescriptive and specific," Wray said.

If the state were to decide to lease the turnpike, the decision would go before the Ohio General Assembly. At this time officials for both the speaker of the house and senate president say it's too soon to tell if a bill would pass.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • East Palestine football players raise awareness about ALS

    East Palestine football players raise awareness about ALS

    One local high school football team took the ALS ice bucket challenge to new heights Thursday night.More >>
    One local high school football team took the ALS ice bucket challenge to new heights Thursday night.More >>
  • A helping hand for local veterans

    A helping hand for local veterans

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-08-23 16:02:15 GMT
    VIENNA, Ohio- Members of the community are raising money to help meet the needs of wounded soldiers and disabled veterans locally. The first annual Freedom Warrior Golf Outing drew hundreds of people together for the cause Friday.More >>
    VIENNA, Ohio- Members of the community are raising money to help meet the needs of wounded soldiers and disabled veterans locally. The first annual Freedom Warrior Golf Outing drew hundreds of people together for the cause Friday.More >>
  • Youngstown residents gather to stop cycle of violence

    Youngstown residents gather to stop cycle of violence

    Saturday, August 23 2014 11:30 AM EDT2014-08-23 15:30:05 GMT
    Youngstown's latest homicide, the shooting death of 17 year old Shawn Cortez, has residents gathering to take back their city from violence.On Friday members of the Food 4 Your Soul ministries offered up prayers for peace while serving up food. They are reaching out to young people, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence in Youngstown."I don't want our children to be fearful when they go to school. They just need to know that there's good resources.. There's good people who are hear for t...More >>
    Youngstown's latest homicide, the shooting death of 17 year old Shawn Cortez, has residents gathering to take back their city from violence.On Friday members of the Food 4 Your Soul ministries offered up prayers for peace while serving up food. They are reaching out to young people, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence in Youngstown."I don't want our children to be fearful when they go to school. They just need to know that there's good resources.. There's good people who are hear for t...More >>
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:04:19 GMT
    A woman accused along with her boyfriend of abducting and sexually abusing two young Amish sisters is due in court for a preliminary hearing.More >>
    A northern New York couple used a dog to lure two Amish sisters from their family farm stand with a plan to turn them into slaves, an investigator said Thursday.More >>
  • State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:30:13 GMT
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.More >>
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.
    More >>
  • Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:23:42 GMT
    Courtesy:  NBC NewsCourtesy: NBC News
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms