We are writing to express our support for the proposed legislative changes that will generate an additional $1.5 billion for road improvements related to the Ohio Turnpike. Some recent news coverage might make citizens believe this idea is not well supported in Portage County. Each of us is concerned about what is best for the citizens in our local communities. For this reason, we write to show our support.
First of all, the plan is fiscally responsible as it is based upon an established stream of revenue. In addition, we believe that keeping the turnpike in the hands of Ohio citizens but using it to help fund nearby transportation projects is a great idea. At the same time, protecting jobs of turnpike workers is very important. Obviously the proposed plan accomplishes both. We applaud an approach that is bi-partisan. People in our communities are tired of political bickering and demand that we work together. This is a great example.
We want ODOT projects funded sooner, which this plan will accomplish. We have all seen examples of great transportation projects that get funded way too late. This plan also provides a way to replace the base road of the current turnpike. Recent news coverage has not focused on the need to replace the base of the turnpike road, which will be funded as part of the plan. This will bring revenue to fund important projects in Northern Ohio.
We also want to support Ohio labor and protect good jobs in Northern Ohio. We are particularly pleased that this plan, supported by union leadership, calls for no planned layoffs. At the same time, families who locally commute on the turnpike will benefit from the 10-year EZ Pass freeze on cars.
Finally, some confusion has been raised about whether the money will actually fund Northern Ohio projects. We have learned that Ohio law requires a "nexus" to the turnpike before the funds can be spent. We understand that this requirement, rather than an artificial number percentage, guarantees the $1.5 billion will stay very close to the turnpike. Certainly it will stay in Northern Ohio.
We like this common sense plan. We support an approach that accomplishes the best interests of families, labor, economic development and good government.
Mayor Glenn M. Broska, Streetsboro
Mayor Joe Bica, Ravenna
Trustee Jack Groselle, Hiram Township
Portage County Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio