John Kasich signed his transportation budget last week and, despite a lot of bluster and rhetoric, it does nothing to solve funding long-term funding problems with Ohio’s transportation infrastructure.
Instead, Kasich kicks the can down the road while burdening the Ohio Turnpike with $1.5 Billion is new debt to pay for short-term ODOT transportation projects and then raising turnpike tolls on truckers to pay off the debt over the long-term.
When the bond money runs out in a few years, ODOT’s funding problems will return and the turnpike will be stuck with billions in debt.
Team Kasich took to Twitter to promote the signing of the transportation budget, using the opportunity to issue a random attack against the State of Pennsylvania and also to lie about not raising turnpike tolls.
This Tweet was sent from the official Kasich twitter account last week:
“Our friends in Pennsylvania seem upset Ohio figured out its transportation crisis w/o raising taxes or hiking tolls.”
The main problem here is that Kasich’s transportation funding plan is based ENTIRELY on raising turnpike tolls. He locks down rates for local travel, which makes up a small percentage of total turnpike traffic, but mandates yearly toll increases on everyone else. Kasich has made this “no toll hikes” statement a number of times recently and today PolitFact rated it Pants on Fire.
And why the hit on his home state of Pennsylvania? Kasich just can’t resist.
Last month it was Indiana and jobs, with the governor publicly attacking that state for not being cool and following up with a dickish comment about Ohio stealing all of their jobs. The same day, the fourth largest trucking company in the nation announced it was shipping nearly 300 Ohio jobs to Indiana.
This time it’s Pennsylvania and transportation funding. And the Governor may find himself in a similarly awkward situation.
Pennsylvania implemented a plan strikingly similar to Kasich’s a few years back called Act 44 that forced their turnpike to borrow money to help fund roads and bridges throughout Pennsylvania all while paying the increasing costs of maintenance on the turnpike and the increasing debt payments.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission debt has gone from $2 Billion in 2002 up to $7 Billion today. And they plan to borrow another $4.3 Billion in the next decade just to keep up with the cost of debt service and maintenance on the toll road.
Again, Kasich’s transportation budget does nothing to solve Ohio’s transportation funding problem and it burdens the state with billions in new debt while forcing turnpike toll increases.
No wonder he’s out lying about it.