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Not Just Highways: New State Rules Should Yield Comprehensive Transportation Planning


Transportation projects should be judged by more than how many cars and trucks they can accommodate.

For years, planners have focused on building and expanding highways. They haven’t considered the whole picture of how best to ensure that people and goods can get around without damaging quality of life.

But the Ohio Department of Transportation is turning over a new leaf with a ratings scheme that gives less weight to how many cars a project can move and gives more weight to other factors.

What would be the economic impact of a project? Would it allow greater exposure to businesses or funnel traffic away from them? Would it encourage redevelopment of blighted property or hasten consumption of undeveloped land? Would it open up investment and job opportunities? Would it affect air pollution?

These questions address the environmental and economic health of the state and its cities. Giving these points consideration should result in a more efficient transportation system, cleaner landscape and healthier economy.

The Transportation Review Advisory Council, a panel of local officials and business leaders, is to vote on Dec. 18 on a final draft of the rules.

Projects already on the books are unaffected, so changes won’t be noted overnight.

James Beasley, ODOT director, said the rules should result in a transportation system that includes more use of rail and waterways.

This is a welcome change.- Columbus Dispatch


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