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Cleveland Bridge Delayed; ODOT Blames Feds

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

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The agency responsible for constructing and maintaining Ohio’s highways and state routes says it’s out of money. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that the fact that Ohio Department of Transportation was running on empty financially was no secret.

Ohio’s transportation department has confirmed that planned work on several road and bridge projects could be postponed by up to 19 years due to lack of funds, and that is including the Interstate 90 bridge leading from downtown Cleveland.

City leaders are upset over the change, and insisting the 2017 date they’ve worked from was a firm promise.

ODOT is funded by federal and state gas taxes. And ODOT director Jerry Wray told Ohio Public Television back in August that there was trouble ahead.

“We are facing a crisis and mostly the crisis relates to federal funding. Most people don’t understand that we are a state administered but federally driven program. We depend upon federal money.”

Wray now says the state received 72 new construction applications totaling $10 billion last year, and there are already $2 billion in projects underway. But ODOT only has about $100 million a year for new construction. Wray says some projects will be rejected, and others pushed back for decades, while the state looks for ways to cut costs and generate funds – which could include leasing the Ohio Turnpike.

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Economy, Government/Politics, Statehouse News Bureau

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