ODOT Encourages Local/Private Investment for New Section of U.S. Route 30
Low Traffic Volumes Too Low to Justify Tolls as a Way to Pay for New Roadway
COLUMBUS (Wednesday, March 27, 2013) – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) today announced the results of a study looking at the possibility of tolling a new, almost $900 million section of U.S. Route 30 in Stark and Columbiana counties. The bottom line: even if motorists were charged four times more in tolls than those traveling the Ohio Turnpike, it would generate roughly half of the estimated construction costs and is not enough to move the project forward.
The announcement was made today at a meeting of the U.S. Route 30 Corridor Action Committee in Lisbon. The committee asked ODOT to pursue the study and has championed tolls as an alternative to paying for the 35-mile, four lane relocation of U.S. Route 30 from Trump Avenue in southeast Canton in Stark County to State Route 11 in Columbiana County.
The toll projections were based upon a rate of 20-cents per mile – that is quadruple the toll rate paid by drivers on the Ohio Turnpike and would generate only $475 million over a 20-year period. To get to $475 million, the study assumed a 6-percent increase in population, a 29-percent increase in employment and traffic volume increases of 18- and 42-percent in 2020 and 2030, respectively, due mainly to recent oil and natural gas exploration in the region.
Using the Transportation Review and Advisory Council’s (TRAC) scoring system, the U.S. Route 30 project was evaluated by ODOT and scored only 26 out of 100 possible points. Other projects in the state score much higher due to their significant impact on economic development, congestion relief, and safety enhancements.
ODOT remains open to considering local and private funding as a way to generate the entire $900 million needed to complete the construction of the U.S. Route 30 relocation project, but admits that tolling the roadway fails to generate the revenue needed to advance the project.
ODOT has cut the agency’s $1.6 billion highway budget deficit by $400 million thanks to new savings and operational efficiencies. In December, the state announced the Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan will generate an additional $1.5 billion to help fill the budget deficit without raising taxes that would kill jobs.
A copy of the complete report is located here (hyperlink).
For more information, contact: Steve Faulkner, ODOT Press Secretary, at 614-644-7101, firstname.lastname@example.org.