AUSTINTOWN, Ohio - Governor John Kasich plans to use the Ohio Turnpike to pay for state-wide road and bridge projects.
The plan does not call for a leasing of the roadway to a private company.
Governor Kasich traveled to the northern part of the state on Thursday to announce his proposal to issue $1.5 billion in new debt, backed by toll revenue, to help pay for state bridge and road projects. The bonds could be met by local and federal funds to total about $3-billion.
The governor stopped in Austintown Township where he told employees at Cerni Motors about his proposal.
As part of that plan, the governor said there are no anticipated layoffs for turnpike employees.
Tolls will increase at the rate of inflation. This is less than historic toll increases for both passenger vehicles and freights.
Those who have an E-ZPass and use the toll road locally, that's for travel less than 30 miles, will not see an increase in price for at least 10 years.
The governor also said 90 percent of the new bond money will go to the northern portion of the state. This will allow ODOT to spend the gas tax and federal funds on projects elsewhere.
In addition, the governor predicts 65,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created as a result of the growth.
"There is simple way to think about this, if we don't do it tolls will go up higher than we are proposing and projects won't get done for 20 or 25 years," Kasich said. "Now you're going to have caps on your tolls, you're going to have a bunch of projects and you're going to have 65,000 jobs."
Representative Bob Hagan says he is "still very disappointed with the selling of bonds, strapping our next generation with payments for years to come."
In order for any money created by the turnpike to be used elsewhere in the state, the governor will need lawmaker approval.
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