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New Study Raises Old Idea To Lease The Ohio Turnpike

Ohio Turnpike
Andrew Meyer, WKSU
Ohio Turnpike

A new study from a libertarian think tank shows Ohio could get $2.9 billion dollars right now if it did something that former Gov. John Kasich wanted to do – lease the Ohio Turnpike.  In the end, the state issued bonds to repair and improve the turnpike and all of Ohio’s roads. But this study says leveraging the road now could provide the state with an infusion of cash when the state is trying to dig out of the economic problems associated with the pandemic. 

The Reason Foundation’s study says leasing the turnpike could yield almost $3 billion dollars. Author Robert Poole says other states are finding global companies and pension funds want to invest in them. He says that money could help when the state cannot afford new infrastructure and it could ensure stability for the turnpike itself. 

“That holds them to performance standards and has penalties if the pavement gets rough and they don’t improve things properly. Typically, it has an annual limit on the toll rate increases.” 

The first company that leased Indiana’s turnpike went bankrupt. But when it was leased again, the new company paid far more, making everyone whole. Critics say there could be problems if control of a valuable Ohio road is given to an outside entity.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.