Kasich, GOP Schemes Victimize Northern, Eastern and Especially Northeast Ohio
Northern Ohio and eastern Ohio are being harmed by the hypocritical policies of Gov. Kasich and the Republican legislature, and northeast Ohio is being hit with a double-whammy.
First, let’s look at the Ohio Turnpike, the lifeblood transportation route through northern Ohio. Ohio taxpayers originally were promised that the superhighway eventually would become toll-free after the initial bonds were repaid by tolls. That was delayed when new bonds were issued to widen and modernize the turnpike.
Now the Republican majorities in the Ohio House and Senate voted [...]Full Story... →
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 [...]Full Story... →
Ohio legislators have proposed raising the speed limits on some of Ohio’s highways. It appears the change could impact revenue forecasts for the Ohio Turnpike and may also impact the sale of turnpike bonds proposed by the Governor.
A recent $3.4 Million dollar study of the Ohio Turnpike by the firm KPMG used a forecasting model to predict future revenue for the turnpike. One of the key components of the model was estimated diversion rates i.e. how many drivers would choose alternative, non-turnpike routes based on other model inputs like toll increases.
According to the study, one of the assumptions used [...]Full Story... →
The Ohio Senate today tweaked Governor Kasich’s turnpike proposal, requiring any funds generated by turnpike bonds to be spent in Northern Ohio while freezing toll rates in statute. The move could lead to a Kasich veto and could be a further sign of what appears to be an increasingly chilly relationship between the Governor and leaders of his own party.
The Senate Transportation Committee adopted amendments to House Bill 51 that would require 90 percent of the proceeds of borrowing against future turnpike tolls to be spent within 75 miles of the Ohio Turnpike. Another amendment locks in current toll [...]Full Story... →
Last year the State School Board hired Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based company that “specializes in educational executive leadership searches”, to help identify a new State Superintendent. According to the contract, the company will be paid a base fee of $32,000 plus additional costs for expenses up to $17,875 – or a total of almost $50,000.
The RFP issued by the Ohio Department of Education requires that the firm “conduct a thorough search for appropriate applicants” after they “develop and conduct a thoughtful, timely process for gathering State Board of Education, staff, and appropriate stakeholder input for establishment criteria for [...]Full Story... →
Back in September, 2011 the Kasich team was already developing talking points for their plan to “leverage” the Ohio Turnpike’s revenue stream into a one-time pot of money for Kasich to fund his pet transportation projects.
We recently obtained a copy of the internal talking points memo (posted in full below) that provides ODOT and Turnpike representatives with a standard answer to the question “Why are you looking at this option now?”
As you may know, Ohio is facing a budget and infrastructure crisis. With the current budget shortfalls and decreases in the amount of gas tax revenues, future investments for [...]Full Story... →
[A reader writes with a poem of sorts. We were inspired to apply a bit of Photoshop.]
I am John.
John-I-am, and I am the Governor of this land.
That John-I-am, that John-I-am! I do not like that John-I-am!
Would you like me to tax you here or there?
I would not like you to tax me here or there. I would not like that anywhere. I do not like your sales tax scam. I do not like them, John-I-am.
Would you like me to tax you when you groom your cat? Would you like me to [...]Full Story... →
Last year Kasich’s team made a big deal about how ODOT was short on cash and lots of transportation projects would need to be cancelled or delayed for decades.
Kasich used this “crisis” to make the case for his $3.4 million study of the Turnpike that led to his current plan: selling $1.5 Billion in bonds against turnpike revenue to help fund ODOT. Problem solved.
But a year has passed since Kasich made those dire predictions, and Ohio’s economic forecast seems to have improved quite substantially.
If you believe Kasich’s math, Ohio will see a $1.9 billion budget surplus over [...]Full Story... →
On Monday Kasich’s ODOT Director Jerry Wray seemed to be backtracking on the Governor’s promise to spend 90% of any potential Turnpike bond money in Northern Ohio.
We don’t want to “set some sort of arbitrary number or percentage,” Wray told Gongwer. ”I hope the governor agrees with me.”
We can only guess what Kasich thinks, but evidence seems to indicate that he’s cool with it.
For starters, nothing in his transportation bill requires any percentage of the bond money to be spent in Northern Ohio,
And in Ohio House hearings this morning Wray and Turnpike Director Richard [...]Full Story... →
Despite promises not to lay off any turnpike workers, nothing in Kasich’s Transportation Budget Bill formally commits to that promise.
Instead, there appear to be many changes to existing law that would speed the adoption of electronic tolling on the Turnpike and hasten staff reductions for the turnpike’s hundreds of full and part-time toll collectors.
Kasich’s proposed transportation budget allows the turnpike to “Fix, and revise from time to time, and charge and collect tolls by any method approved by the commission, including, but not limited to, manual methods or through electronic technology accepted within the tolling [...]Full Story... →
Gongwer is reporting that Kasich’s ODOT Director Jerry Wray is trying to renege on the Governor’s promise to spend 90% of any bond money generated by the Turnpike in Northern Ohio.
The Governor has proposed saddling the Ohio Turnpike with $1.5 Billion in new debt to fund transportation projects around the state, but he’s promised almost all of that money would be spent in and around the Ohio Turnpike.
Kasich’s ODOT director Jerry Wray disagrees.
”There are a lot of projects there on our list that are from northern Ohio,” Director Wray said. “So my hope [...]Full Story... →