Gov. Kasich and Ohio Legislators took a critical step toward addressing the state’s transportation budget deficit this week.

Surrounded by a small gathering of state legislators Monday, Kasich signed a two-year, $7.6 billion transportation and public safety budget bill. It allocates about $4 billion in state and federal gas tax money for road and bridge work.

But the bill also allows the state, to leverage future toll revenue from the Ohio Turnpike for additional road work, including projects beyond the toll road. The bill requires 90 percent of that additional infrastructure funding to focus on Northern Ohio roadways.

Most important, however, is the plan will create needed jobs for the state’s economy.

ACT Ohio has been a strong supporter of Gov. Kasich’s transportation plan since it was first proposed and has been lobbying for its passage. Efforts included a Letter to the Editor campaign sent to Ohio’s major newspapers. The Letter, written by Dennis Duffey, Secretary Treasurer of ACT Ohio, appeared in the online version of the Columbus Dispatch.

The plan preserves state control of the Ohio Turnpike while also raising $1.5 billion through bonds issued by the Ohio Turnpike Commission — repaid by future Turnpike revenue, not tax dollars.

Having the needed funds available for infrastructure spending will create jobs in Ohio. A study by the American Public Transportation Association determined that for every billion dollars spent on public transportation, 36,000 jobs are created.

Creating jobs, while also improving the state’s infrastructure is a one-two punch to the ongoing recession, and two giant, positive steps to improve Ohio’s job-friendly climate.

 

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