The Ohio Department of Transportation warned it was going to have to slice its budget and delay some projects by up to 20 years due to insufficient funds.
ODOT has more than $2 billion of projects in the pipeline, but has only $100 million of annual funding, director Jerry Wray last week told the Transportation Review Advisory Council, a nine-member bipartisan group that approves funding for Ohio’s largest transportation projects.
The review council has received applications for more than $10 billion of projects and the state already has $2 billion of projects underway, ODOT said. The state, however, has only $100 million a year to spend due to falling gas consumption.
“Unfortunately, this is Ohio’s new reality,” Wray said in a statement. “For far too long, previous administrations have added more and more to the list of TRAC projects knowing that there were more projects than funds available.
“Their poor planning has put us in the position of making the tough decisions and delivering the bad news to many communities throughout the state that there simply is not enough money to fund their projects,” he said.
At least one critic, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, told reporters that the cutback is only to create more momentum to privatize the Ohio Turnpike, which Gov. John Kasich’s administration is in the midst of considering.