10/24/2012 – 10/24/12-Democratic state Reps. Matt Lundy of Elyria and Ronald Gerberry of Austintown announced on Tuesday, Oct. 23, a plan to push for more public input on any lease deal for the Ohio Turnpike. A bill in the works would require the Turnpike Commission to hold public hearings before any proposed handover of the 241-mile roadway.
The action comes as Kasich is nearing a long-term deal to lease the turnpike, which is made up of Interstates 76, 80 and 90, for as little as $1 billion, according to The Columbus Dispatch. A year ago his administration indicated that they expected to get several billion dollars for the turnpike.
Gerberry said it’s wrong to sell state assets for one-time money.
“The residents of northern Ohio helped finance this incredibly valuable asset and giving up ownership in any manner is wrong,” Gerberry stated. “Selling off Ohio assets for one-time money is clearly not the right direction.”
Also included in the Democrats’ proposal is a provision to repeal the state budget and transportation directors’ authority to approve a turnpike lease deal.
OOIDA strongly opposes the long-term lease or sale of infrastructure to private groups. The Association’s “top 12” government affairs objectives includes opposition to the privatization of existing public transportation infrastructure.
Instead, OOIDA’s board of directors is committed to pursuing “solutions to maintain a safe and efficient national highway system through equitable and cost-efficient highway funding.”