Gov. John Kasich was in Northeast Ohio today to sign his $7.6 billion transportation budget into law. The plan includes the sale of $1.5 billion in bonds against future turnpike tolls to help fund a backlog of road construction projects. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
Until now, Turnpike tolls have only been allowed to fund maintenance and improvements on the Turnpike itself. Under this latest budget, bond funding will spread some toll money to other projects.
At Kasich's signing ceremony in Warrensville Heights, several Democrats spoke in favor of the bill. The governor said that was important to him.
KASICH: “We’re not going to agree on everything. But I believe that we’re seeing a thaw in terms of relationships, and it’s really important to us. It’s a critical thing that we all get along.”
The law increases the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on some stretches of interstate highway. It also requires that 90 percent of bond sale money be spent on projects within a 75-mile radius of the turnpike.
Democratic State Sen. Capri Cafaro of Trumbull County said that assurance was key to winning her support.
CAFARO: “Those of us, particularly in northern Ohio, were able to stand before you and make sure that the toll monies that are being utilized by the consumers that we represent were going to be reinvested in projects in northern Ohio.”
But not all were convinced. State Sen. Nina Turner voted against the bill, in part because it didn’t include her plan to use $35 million in state and federal money toward public transit.
TURNER: “If we don’t upgrade as a state -- if we don’t make the investments necessary to local mass transit and trains, we are going to be left behind.”
Among other objections, Turner said the bill did not contain a requirement for minority contracting.