Today, John Kasich announced that he will reveal his plan to unlock a pile of cash from the Turnpike this week, likely Thursday. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s going to hand over control to ODOT who will issue bonds against future toll revenue in order to pay for Kasich’s political pet transportation projects.
But nothing really surprises me about Kasich anymore.
Given that JobsOhio still can’t work out a bond deal for liquor profits because of the constitutional uncertainty, it also wouldn’t shocking if Kasich went a different direction and entered a decades-long lease with a private operator, despite the fact that everyone seems to agree it’s political suicide.
We’re also expecting to hear about plans for public-private partnerships on roads in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, with the likely addition of tolls to fund projects like the Brent Spence bridge in Southern Ohio.
But it looks like selling off Ohio’s rest areas may actually turn out to be the most unpopular of Kasich’s plans for Ohio’s roads.
In this video captured today by Marc Kovac, Kasich laughs off (around 3:40) opposition to his plan from Ohioans whose restaurants and gas stations and other small businesses operate along the exits on Ohio’s state highways. Leasing Ohio’s rest areas to big national or international companies would certainly put a few extra bucks into ODOT coffers, but it would also have a huge negative impact on Ohio’s existing businesses that would have to compete with the new commercialized service plazas.
The Governor chuckles at the complaints from Ohio’s small business owners. John Kasich does what he wants.
Just in case you wondered how angry Ohioans are about Kasich’s rest area plans, this video of a meeting with ODOT managers and local business owners in Hocking County should clear it all up for you.
The organizations representing Ohio’s small business-owning farmers and truck drivers have come out against Kasich’s privatization plans. Can we expect the trade groups for restaurants, hotels and gas stations to be next?