Ohio Governor Touts Plan to Lease Turnpike

AASHTO Journal, 29 July 2011

Gov. John Kasich said Monday during an appearance in Toledo that the Ohio Turnpike should be leased to a private corporation, enabling the state to collect billions of dollars in payments.

“With Toledo Mayor Mike Bell by his side, the Ohio governor described the turnpike as a ‘very underutilized asset’ that could become a money-maker for both a private operator and the state of Ohio with a properly structured lease,” The Blade of Toledo reported.

Kasich said his plan to lease the Ohio Turnpike might not generate revenue as high as the $3 billion he had previously estimated, and said he couldn’t pledge that lease income would be dedicated to fund transportation improvements in northern Ohio, where the turnpike (also known as Interstate 80/90 and Interstate 76) runs.

“While stating that revenue from a turnpike lease could be used for projects such as widening I-75 between Toledo and Findlay or catching up with long-awaited channel dredging in Toledo’s harbor, the governor declined to commit to any specific uses,” The Blade reported.

“What is the single best investment we can make for the state? We need to get out of this regional mentality,” Kasich said during the news conference at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s West Toledo field office, the newspaper reported.

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