Starting tomorrow you’re going to hear a lot more about leasing Ohio’s turnpike. It’s going to be one of in Kasich’s budget proposal tomorrow and it’s going to receive a lot of debate for reasons that will soon become clear.

We’ve been covering similar proposals since 2006 back when Ken Blackwell first proposed it. And as we’ve said many times before: it was a bad idea then and it’s still a bad idea now.

As Modern and OBW both pointed out, it’s probably unconsitutional. It’s also “one time money” – something Kasich promised not to use to balance his budget and something over which Governor Strickland received a great deal of flack during the campaign.

Also worth repeating:

* The highway’s condition will not improve if we lease it – and it may get worse

* There will be no major cost savings to the state by turning the Turnpike over to a private company

* The only way to make the lease profitable for a private company is to greatly increase the tolls

* Increased tolls means drivers – especially commercial truckers – will move to other roads, increasing wear-and-tear on the highways the state still maintains, increasing traffic congestion and increasing the number of accidents that need to be handled by emergency crews

* There is no way we will get anywhere near the $3 billion in one-time-money Kasich is going to claim in his budget proposal

* In order to save money the new owners will fire all of the current turnpike workers and hire back workers at a much lower salary with little or no benefits

* Other long-term lease projects, like the Chicago Skyway, end up being run by a group of foreign investors who are only interested in profits and have no interest in Ohio or its citizens.

Any questions?

 
  • guesty

    How about selling advertising space on the turnpike? I mean on the actual pavement, have they thought of that yet?

  • Anastasjoy

    You forgot one. Having its major artery a toll road is an economic handicap for northern Ohio. The enormous toll increases sure to follow leasing it will be an even bigger anchor on the economy here, sending truck traffic and the development that goes with it to central and southern Ohio. Along with the fact that routes 2, 6 and 20 will be torn up and need much more repair (which they have already with truck traffic escaping the already increased tolls), this is a real hit to one part of the state. For Kasich to talk about using the money for infrastructure projects around the state is insulting; it should ALL stay in northern Ohio. But in reality, the turnpike should not be leased at all. They already jacked up tolls and raked in a nice pile of increased revenue as a result. So why lease it? That only hurts Ohioans as well as truck traffic which feeds industry.

    Personally, I bailed on the turnpike when they raised tolls astronomically about a year and a half ago. I drive home to Chicago quite a bit and also bailed on the privatized and increasingly expensive Indiana turnpike. As for the Skyway, ha ha, you must be kidding (even though it deposits at the foot of my old neighborhood). Pay $2.50 to go about three miles? Not a chance. I’ll take I-94 into town for free.

  • Anastasjoy

    Oh, and also: you know it’s a bad idea when the Cleveland Plainly Republican (Plain Dealer) did a huge story on this last week and had to admit that “few think it’s a good idea.” Remember this was the paper that endorsed Kasich because he would give us a “quickened pulse.” They just didn’t get that it would be due to rage.

  • Annekarima

    Anastasjoy, chances are routes 2, 6 and 20 plus others will become toll roads also. It can be done and may be in the plans.

  • dlw

    Sadly I don’t think the constitutional issue will cause them even a moments pause. Which will mean money and delays in the form of lawsuits.

    Given that he’s so fond of saying that the coming pain is the fault of state agencies themselves for using the one time stimulus money, it’s truely amazing to see how many different ways kasich has come up with to raise relatively small amounts of one time money.

    If he really thinks his first 7 weeks felt like 7 years, then for these next 7… well… he ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

  • dlw

    Sadly I don’t think the constitutional issue will cause them even a moments pause. Which will mean money and delays in the form of lawsuits.

    Given that he’s so fond of saying that the coming pain is the fault of state agencies themselves for using the one time stimulus money, it’s truely amazing to see how many different ways kasich has come up with to raise relatively small amounts of one time money.

    If he really thinks his first 7 weeks felt like 7 years, then for these next 7… well… he ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

  • Natasha

    Lots of things quicken the pulse, particularly amateur recreational pharmaceuticals. Ohio Auditor-and admitted drug user- Dave Yost knows all about that too maybe he can help Johnny get his groove on without trashing the state.

  • Lacklandgd

    Leasing the “pike” is a very bad idea..whomever takes it over, won’t give a hoot about maintaining its present condition..they’ll only be interested in $$.
    My former superintendent contracted Sodexo-Marriott (for over $250 thousand, a year) to take over the custodians, maintenance and the cafeterias in the district..no cleaning supplies, they have to BEG for the materials to do their jobs…custodians were told to change classroom garbage bags ONCE a week, the food selection in the cafeterias is high in carbs, AND the Sodexo people in charge won’t even talk to the teachers when there is a problem. When I had some sort of oil based cleaner residue on the tops of student desks, I asked the guy in charge to come down to my room so I could talk to him about it, he REFUSED! I took a pic of the mess w/my cell phone and then cleaned the desks myself, as the kids were entering my 1st period class.

    Kasich is single handedly destorying this state…turning it into his “corporate kingdom”…..

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