A project to rebuild the Co. Rd. 24 corridor into a direct route to the Ohio Turnpike could be eligible for 80% funding from the Ohio Turnpike.
Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, described the possibility Monday during his State of the Village message before the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce.
John Kasich, Ohio governor, announced a plan last month to raise cash by selling bonds, to be repaid with Ohio Turnpike revenue. Kasich called for the sale of $1.5 billion in bonds.
Before any bonds can be sold, the Ohio legislature must approve changes in state law. The changes are expected to come in the state transportation bill, which is expected to be passed in February.
Wyse said after Christmas, he attended a meeting in Bryan, hosted by William Killgallon, chairman and chief executive officer of the Ohio Art Company, which was founded in Archbold.
In addition to public offi cials from Williams and Fulton counties, Wyse said Rick Hodges, Ohio Turnpike executive director, attended.
He said Hodges told the group that to obtain a share of the $1.5 billion, a project would have to be “in the nexus of the Ohio Turnpike.”
In other words, Wyse said backers of a project would have to prove that a highway project would be of benefit to users of the turnpike.
Wyse said Hodges told the audience projects in areas north of U.S. 30 will be eligible to receive up to 80% of their costs paid by money from the turnpike revenue bonds.
Projects south of U.S. 30 will only be eligible for a maximum of 20% turnpike bond funding.
U.S. 30 cuts the state essentially in half, running from Ft. Wayne, Ind. to Van Wert, then almost due east, north of Lima, to Upper Sandusky. From there, it cuts across to Mansfield, Wooster, then into the Massillon-Canton area, before turning southeast and crossing into West Virginia at East Liverpool, Ohio.
Co. Rd. 24
Wyse said government offi cials have talked for years about the possibility of converting Co. Rd. 24 in Fulton and Henry Counties, plus Domersville Road in Defi- ance County, into a bypass, or alternative route to St. Rt. 66.
The Archbold-Fayette Turnpike interchange is built on what used to be Co. Rd. 24. The road through all three counties is practically a straight line between the Defiance General Motors Foundry on St. Rt. 281 to the Ohio Turnpike interchange.
In one of the last meetings on the proposal, in February 2011, Defiance County commissioners blocked the discussion of Domersville Road.
They pointed out the Tinora School District has two buildings adjacent to the route, one of which is not far from the roadway.
Wyse noted in his address that Defiance residents don’t use the Turnpike “because it’s not easy to get to.”
A Domersville Road-Co. Rd. 24 route could resolve that problem.
Another possible benefit from converting Co. Rd. 24 to an alternate for St. Rt. 66 would be to relieve traffic pressure on the North Defi- ance Street-Stryker Street intersection.
Semis, particularly those with 53-foot trailers, have difficulty negotiating the intersection, which also is the intersection of St. Rts. 2 and 66. Upgrading Co. Rd. 24 for truck traffic would provide easy access to trucks going to or coming from the Archbold ConAgra plant and the village industrial park.
Wyse said he hopes government officials could resurrect the discussion of the Co. Rd. 24 corridor.
Wyse also said there was an Indiana state senator at the Williams County meeting.
That senator told the group that for three of the five years preceding the lease of the Indiana toll road to a private consortium, the state budget had to subsidize the operation of the toll road.
Indiana got more than $3 billion for a 75-year lease.
Wyse said Ohio doesn’t have that problem with the Ohio Turnpike– the turnpike is a profit center, he said.
He said the Indiana senator told the group that the $3 billion is now gone, and things are back to the way they were before; plus, Indiana has little control over turnpike tolls.