Sciortino: "We have to keep the turnpike how it is." - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Sciortino: "We have to keep the turnpike how it is."

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A bill making its way through state congress right now is not sitting well with Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, and the bill should not sit well with taxpayers either, he said.

"We have to take a stand and make sure we keep the turnpike how it is," Sciortino said at a press conference in the Mahoning County Democratic Party Headquarters Thursday morning.

House Bill 51, concerning the future of the Ohio Turnpike, passed through the state Finance Committee Wednesday night on an 18-13 vote and could make it to House floor as early as Thursday.

The Republican-controlled committee passed the bill to alter the turnpike without regard to amendments state Democrats wanted to see.

State Senator Joe Schiavoni said Gov. John Kasich had a lot of guarantees when he initially proposed his ideas for the turnpike, but those guarantees are no where in the bill.

Kasich promised no job loss, no increased tolls and 90 percent of revenue would be dedicated to northeast Ohio in his original press release on the topic, but now he won't put those promises in writing now that the bill is moving forward, Schiavoni said.

"There's rhetoroic and there's fact, and the facts don't match up with the rhetoric," he said.

Sciortino said we can't trust Kasich and believes getting all the governor's promises and gauarantees in writing is the only way to hold him accountable.

"If it's not in writing, not in this legislation, it's not going to happen," he said.

Schiavoni also expressed concern about large loans that Kasich plans to take out for the turnpike project and believes the state should tap into a $1.5 billion "rainy day fund" for infrastructure projects rather than borrowing..

"He's going to take out loans and Ohio will have to pay them back for 30 years," he said.

If the governor's promises and guarantees were in the bill, Schiavoni said he would be willing to take a closer look.
 

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