YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Governor John Kasich will announce Thursday his plans for the Ohio Turnpike.
The long awaited announcement has been a topic of concern among local legislatures who fear the governor will lease the toll road to a private company, but recent reports indicate Kasich may have other plans.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that legislators, who wish to remain unidentified, say that the governor will not be leasing the turnpike. Instead, Governor Kasich will reveal a plan to pay for Ohio's 1.6-billion dollar highway deficit, while keeping the toll road as a public asset.
Previously the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation told 21 News that while the state is considering leasing the turnpike, they are also looking at options of issuing bonds against it, or exploring some other avenues. This may include the distribution of turnpike revenue for projects throughout the state.
21 News spoke with local lawmakers who say they still have their concerns.
"To the people of northern Ohio, this is something so many people rely upon for travel for work every single day, not only for work but for leisure," said Senator Joe Schiavoni. "It's something that we need to keep in tact for safety reasons. Not to mention the people that work on the turnpike and the money it makes for the state of Ohio."
"If there is any leverage, the far vast majority of those dollars should only be spent in the counties that the turnpike goes though," said Representative Ron Gerberry.
The governor is expected to reveal his plan during a stop in Austintown Thursday. You can watch it as it happens here on wfmj.com beginning at about 3:15 p.m.