Earlier in the week Tim Ryan along with other Reps. Kaptur, Kucinich, Fudge and Sutton and Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter to the US Department of Transportation questioning whether it was appropriate for Kasich’s people at the Ohio Department of Transportation to spend $1.5 million in federal money to hire a consultant to research Kasich’s plan to sell Ohio’s turnpike.
Today the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) came back with their answer: Nope.
Kasich’s ODOT Director Jerry Wray believed politics was the reason and he went so far as to send out an email claiming:
… the federal FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez told him he was “feeling political pressure to reverse his agency’s decision on this.”
According to the Department of Transportation, Wray is, to put it politely, a big fat liar:
“Administrator Mendez said nothing about political pressure in his conversation with Director Wray. He told Wray the scope of work as currently designed was not an eligible use of federal funds –period.”
Funny story: this is the second time this week ODOT lied when talking about these funds.
On Tuesday October 4th, the same day Ryan’s letter was sent to Transportation Secretary LaHood, ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner said “I am certain this is a simple misunderstanding that could have been cleared up if the Congressman had called our office.”
According to Ryan’s office and his press release about the letter, Ryan spoke on the phone with ODOT representatives the previous day.
On a call on Monday, October 3, a representative for the Ohio Department of Transportation confirmed that the State of Ohio was utilizing federal funds from the State Planning and Research Program to fund a contractor advising the State on turnpike financing.
You know you guys can’t just make things up and suddenly have them be true, right Mr. Wray?