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Ohio’s Transportation Conversation targets State’s Diverse Regional Needs

Opinions also reveal Ohio motorists and businesses changing moods and modes,
blaming record-high gas prices for switch to alternative transportation

Ohio’s Transportation Conversation
targets State’s Diverse Regional Needs
Opinions also reveal Ohio motorists and businesses changing moods and modes,
blaming record-high gas prices for switch to alternative transportation

(COLUMBUS) May 15, 2008 – As more Ohioans join the state’s “Transportation Conversation” by saying record-high gas prices have changed their moods about alternative modes of transportation, the conversation over Ohio’s future is set to grow even louder in the coming weeks at a series of regional meetings of the Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force.

Over the past several weeks, hundreds of Ohioans have submitted ideas and opinions to the task force online at TransportationForTomorrow.ohio.gov. A popular topic has been the impact of recent prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.

Adding to those public comments are reports into the Ohio Department of Transportation revealing more Ohio motorists are choosing to leave their cars at home. Transit agencies in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati have reported increases in ridership rates (the Central Ohio Transit Authority reported a 17.5 percent increase in April over the previous year). Businesses are also choosing alternative options for moving freight. According to the Association of American Railroads, freight traffic on U.S. railroads was the second highest on record last year.

ODOT traffic counts on Ohio’s urban and rural roadways also show a decline over the past year. Overall average daily traffic dropped 1.1 percent in 2007 compared to the previous year – the first time ODOT has recorded overall decreased traffic counts on interstate, freeway and arterial roadways across the state.

Launched last month, the Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force has been charged with envisioning Ohio’s future transportation system - determining how the state can best balance the movement of people and freight, create jobs and generate economic development, and link all modes of transportation by connecting highways to rail, aviation, water ports, transit, bike paths and walkways.

The task force, comprised of experts from both private and governmental sectors, is also examining the fairest ways to finance Ohio’s future transportation system.

To gather more public input and information about Ohio’s diverse regional needs, the task force will host a series of open meetings across the state. In additional to learning more about the task force, Ohioans will be able to share their vision of the type of transportation system they believe Ohio needs for the 21st Century.

Details about all meetings, including times, locations and directions, can be found at: TransportationForTomorrow.ohio.gov.

Regional Task Force Meetings:
All regional events are from 4 p.m.–8 p.m.

southwest
Cincinnati/Dayton
May 22
Miami Valley Reg. Plan. Comm.
1100 W. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45407

southeast
Athens
June 4
Walter Hall - OU Campus
Room 135
Athens, OH 45701

northwest
Toledo
June 10
Nitschke Hall
University of Toledo
Toledo, OH  43606-3390

east
St. Clairsville
June 11
OU Eastern Campus,
Shannon Hall,  45425 National Rd., St. Clairsville, OH 43950

 central
Columbus
June 12
Ohio Building at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds
717 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211

north
Cleveland
June 17
Joseph E. Cole Center
Cleveland State University
3100 Chester Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

northeast
Akron
June 23
John S. Knight Center
77 East Mill Street
Akron, OH 44308

For more information contact
Scott Varner (Central Office Communications) at 614-644-8640
Additional information can also be found at http://TransportationForTomorrow.ohio.gov
Please note: the website does not contain the typical www prior to the address.