The Ohio Department of Transportation Review Advisory Council, TRAC, has approved $1.8 million to begin development of a project that could lead to relocating St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24.
Several steps must be completed before workers start moving signs, but the first steps have been taken.
The project is one of several being funded through the sale of bonds, to be repaid by future toll revenue from the Ohio Turnpike.
This newspaper remains strongly opposed to plans to raise money from the Turnpike. While John Kasich, Ohio governor, and his staff believe raising money from the turnpike is “unlocking value,” we believe it burdens the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission with a huge debt.
While Kasich was able to raise money from the turnpike, we do not believe our opposition is in vain. We believe our voice, combined with many others, swayed the governor away from his original plan to lease the toll road to a private, possibly foreign, contractor, as Indiana did with its toll road.
Selling bonds against future revenue is not something we prefer, but it’s better than turning over control of a major asset owned by the people of Ohio to a private organization.
Kasich and his allies in the state legislature have shown before they are willing to use their political muscle to punish those who disagree.
Case in point: Bruce Goodwin, former state representative (R-Defi- ance), resigned from the Ohio Turnpike Commission to protest a potential privatization plan, and he was essentially run out of the House of Representatives for his stand.
The powers that be in Columbus could have said, “Your newspaper embarrassed us, no money for you!” They wouldn’t have used those words, but the message would have gotten across.
But Kasich and his allies have chosen to overlook our opposition and go ahead and fund the Co. Rd. 24 project.
While we run the risk of appearing hypocritical at applauding the acceptance of turnpike bond money, it will go for a project that will improve the safety of the village, decrease inconvenience to motorists, and improve access to the turnpike for local manufacturers.
That’s a risk we’re willing to take.