Commitment to Highway and Bridge Preservation,
Call for 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force
focal points of ODOTs 2008-2009 Business Plan
COLUMBUS (November 27, 2007) Calling for a new
dialogue on how best to determine Ohios transportation priorities and
identify the fairest ways to finance them, the Ohio Department of
Transportation (ODOT) unveiled its 2008-2009 Business Plan, highlighted
by a commitment to fully fund the preservation of Ohios current
highways and bridges, and creation of a statewide 21st Century
Transportation Priorities Task Force to identify priority transportation
improvements to move the state forward and innovative new ways to
The ODOT Business Plan, required every two years under Ohio law, also
details the departments new mission which emphasizes a multi-modal
approach to modernizing the states transportation system.
Ohio cannot simply build its way out of congestion. We must fully
embrace a multi-modal approach with an integrated network of highway,
rail, transit, aviation, and waterway, said Director James Beasley,
PE/PS. Our transportation infrastructure also contributes to job
creation, so we must broaden our criteria for project selection to
better understand the impacts to economic development and urban
Used also as a forecasting tool, the ODOT 2008-2009 Business Plan
gives the department and its transportation partners a better
perspective on the states long-term capital improvement program. ODOT
must plan 6-7 years ahead, as transportation projects take years to plan
and tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars to build.
The plan also describes how ODOT must contend with several key
challenges, including the devastating impact of construction cost
inflation on ODOTs purchasing power and the flattening of state
Over the past four years, ODOTs construction costs have seen a
compounded inflation increase of nearly 41%, said Director Beasley,
pointing to hyper-inflation caused by the rising cost of oil, increased
demand for raw materials in the global economy, and lingering effects of
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
As inflation has been driving construction costs up, the state
revenues to pay for it have been flattening. Revenues from the state
motor fuel tax have been leveling over the past three years, due in
large part to the escalation of fuel prices, a slow-to-no growth in
Ohios population, and the availability of more fuel efficient
vehicles, continued Director Beasley.
Another key challenge is an over-commitment by the department to
Major New Construction projects in 2006 - at 47% above funding levels -
and a planned shortfall of more than a billion dollars in the
departments roadway and bridge preservation programs. When combined,
the cumulative effects of high construction cost inflation, flat state
revenue, and budget adjustments needed for past program decisions create
a shortfall of $3.5 billion using financial forecasts projected for the
department through 2015, starting with an estimated $114 million
shortfall in Major New Construction in 2009.
In these difficult financial times, we must be good stewards of the
public trust and adjust the departments financial outlook to match
realistic trends in revenue and construction costs, said Director
Beasley. It is also important to have reliable and realistic project
scope and cost information prior to the advancement of Major New
Construction projects. ODOT will simplify its financial forecast and
TRAC estimates to one, clear-to-understand page.
ODOT will assemble a statewide Ohio 21st Century Transportation
Priorities Task Force to lead a frank discussion on how best to position
Ohios transportation spending to balance the movement of people and
freight, promote safety and reduce congestion, create jobs, encourage
responsible growth, and help build sustainable communities. As the Task
Force determines these priorities, it will also be asked to identify the
fairest ways to finance them, including the identification of new tools
for state and local governments to partner with the private sector.
Other highlights of the 2008-2009 Business Plan include the
implementation of newer technologies to improve traffic flow and make
the states current transportation system work smarter. Low-cost
signal upgrades and coordination, remote traffic monitoring, and
enhanced online applications for travel information are examples.
ODOT also commits to working toward a better than before
environmental policy, by improving efforts to recycle or re-use
products and materials at ODOT facilities, and promote purchasing and
use of recyclable, environmentally-cleaner products in construction and
Access the full ODOT 2008-2009 Business Plan.