When it comes to infrastructure; all roads lead to Ohio.
The Buckeye State’s infrastructure is among the most important in the entire country. According to Jobs Ohio:
Ohio is geographically advantageous, sitting within a 600-mile radius of more than half of the U.S. and Canadian populations. Major cities including Chicago, New York City and Toronto are easily accessible via air, rail and road. Among the nation’s leaders for trucking and storing goods, Ohio’s north coast on Lake Erie includes a groundbreaking shipping service linking the Industrial Midwest, the Port of Toledo and the Great Lakes to Europe.
A 2018 study gave the state’s infrastructure an “A-” while the national state average came in at a “D+.” However, there are still an estimated, 1,653 bridges that are classified as “structurally deficient,” according to the FHWA National Bridge Inventory. In addition, 30% of all roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.” Compounding this issue, the Ohio Department of Transportation will have its budget for 2020/21 decrease to $1.7 billion, a 30% drop from 2014. This budget will leave almost nothing for new infrastructure projects.
In an effort to address these growing problems, Monday, Governor DeWine announced the formation of the “Ohio Governor’s Advisory Committee on Transportation Infrastructure.” The committee is made up of industry leaders, government senior advisers, and infrastructure experts. The move was celebrated by the Fix Our Roads Ohio (FOR Ohio), stating; “We trust that the Governor’s Advisory Committee will bring a focus to this issue and stimulate a productive discussion about potential solutions.” The Buckeye Institute also praised the decision, noting:
We applaud Governor DeWine for appointing this task force to review how Ohio pays for critical infrastructure needs. As this debate moves forward, The Buckeye Institute urges policymakers to maintain appropriate user fees to fund infrastructure projects rather than redirecting general revenues to cover funding shortfalls. And we continue to urge policymakers to use taxpayer dollars wisely and enable more money to be spent on more projects by reforming Ohio’s expensive prevailing wage law.
The preliminary reports of the committee are expected sometime in mid-February.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine. Background Photo “Ohio Welcome Sign” by Famartin. CC BY-SA 4.0.