ODOT Moving Forward on 16-Mile, $429 Million Project in Southern Ohio

FAULKNER: "It’s a 16 mile, four-lane highway that essentially goes from U.S. Route 23 down in Southern Ohio to U.S. Route 52 in Sciotoville...This has been a project that has been talked about for decades and it could continue to linger for decades if we found no innovative solutions to building what is essentially a $429 million bypass. And that’s what we're doing. We're looking at a way to work with the private sector to put that money up front, pay for the construction costs in today’s dollars rather than waiting 35 years from now."

INGLES: "So exactly how are you accomplishing that?"

FAULKNER: "Well, essentially what we are doing...We just announced last Friday we're working with the Portsmouth Gateway Group. And that group submitted a proposal, it's one of several that submitted a proposal to ODOT basically outlining exactly how they would construct this bypass. Basically it's going to cost them about $429 million to do it. ODOT then is going to make payments over the period 35 years to this company. If you think of it this way, if you worked your entire life to save up money to purchase a house, for instance, a $100,000 dollar house for example, that would take you many many years perhaps. But the way people finance that purchase now is to purchase it in today’s dollars and then make payments every month over a set number of years. And that’s essentially what we're looking at doing here."

INGLES: "So is the state paying interest on this?"

FAULKNER: "Well, what you do is you obviously do take into consideration finance changes that would be a part of a transaction like this. But it is certainly something that would be beneficial to the motoring public by 2018 instead of 2048 or 2050. And so that’s something you consider when you look at entering into a partnership like this."

Faulkner says he doesn’t know exactly how much interest the state will be paying on this project. Construction is set to begin in the summer of 2015.

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