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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gov. Kasich's plan to issue Ohio Turnpike bonds

A better plan for the Ohio Turnpike: 
Gov. Kasich's proposal to issue bonds 

Over the past year there has been much speculation and hand-wringing over Governor Kasich’s eyeballing of the Ohio Turnpike and his possible desire to sell off and/or lease one of our state’s greatest assets as a way to raise revenue.
After commissioning a $3.4 million dollar study, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that this study would have been another typical political ploy to justify Governor Kasich’s desire to sell or lease the turnpike just as other states have done.
This thought was reinforced with the routine dog & pony shows of public hearings for citizens to voice their concerns about the future of the Ohio Turnpike. The general consensus of citizens and businesses at these hearings were that the State of Ohio should NOT lease the Turnpike as a way to garner one-time funds for the state.
In a show of common sense using innovative solutions and listening to the voices and concerns of Ohio citizens and business owners, last week, much to everyone surprise, Governor Kasich announced he will not try to step over dollars to pick up one-time pennies for the state by leasing the turnpike.
With a decision that must be applauded, in Governor Kasich’s new proposal, the State of Ohio will NOT lease or sell the Ohio Turnpike, but instead will use one of our state’s greatest and strongest assets to leverage money for much needed infrastructure repairs.
By issuing low-interest bonds against future revenues, this plan will allow the Turnpike Commission to remain independent, save jobs, and raise an initial projected $1.5 billion -- and with available matching funds up to $3 billion. These funds will be used for road repairs and rehabilitation, which will in the long run end up also creating up to 65,000 jobs and increasing development.
Showing this is a win/win solution, many of the one-time detractors of Governor Kasich's plan to lease the turnpike are now singing praise.
The Ohio Legislature will need to approve this proposal which is expected to be included in Ohio Department of Transportation's funding request in early 2013.  
Sources and more info at the Columbus Dispatch hereand at the Ohio Department of Transportation website here.
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