By Gene Krebs
Greater Ohio Policy Center has been pointing out that Ohio Department of Transportation has a profound budget imbalance since October of 2005, with concern as to how it will impact the ability of Ohio to keep and attract jobs. We commend Director Wray for his admission that ODOT has a profound funding problem. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving the problem. The current funding structure is simply not sustainable, and we need to have a discussion about how to move people and goods in the most cost effective and safe manner, and that might not always mean highways, sometimes it might mean transit, multimodal, rail, bike paths or even sidewalks. Cars and trucks are not always the answer to every transportation question. There could be lower cost answers in each unique situation.
Greater Ohio suggests that ODOT and the General Assembly form a task force, similar to the one we suggested in the 2011 ODOT budget, to examine the fiscal future of ODOT and all transportation in Ohio, and to make a recommendation by December 1, 2012. This report, along with the pending performance audit report of ODOT that Greater Ohio proposed, could form the foundation of a new future for transportation in Ohio, and one that could form the basis of job creation and true GDP growth for decades.