Governor Announces Priority Transportation Projects to be Funded by Federal Recovery Act Resources
149 Projects Projected to Create 21,257 Ohio Jobs
COLUMBUS (March 26, 2009)- Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today announced that 149 transportation infrastructure projects have been prioritized for full or partial funding from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resources.
“We have identified projects that will put thousands of Ohioans to work quickly,” Strickland said. “But to make the best use of these resources, we must also leverage them to create tomorrow’s opportunities. In addition to distributing the federal transportation stimulus resources broadly to provide Ohioans in every region with an opportunity to participate in the economic recovery, we are also targeting funds to develop unique regional economic assets. Doing so will strengthen the state’s infrastructure system while also bolstering each region’s economic vitality in immeasurable ways.”
Federal transportation stimulus funds totaling $774 million will be spent in nearly every Ohio county. Based on federal calculations for transportation investment, an estimated 21,257 jobs will be created or retained through these stimulus projects, with thousands of additional jobs likely to be spurred by the economic development that will occur as a result of the projects.
When combined with Recovery Act funds allocated under Ohio’s Rural Transit Program, stimulus investments will be made in 87 of Ohio’s 88 counties. (Noble County, the remaining county, did not submit a federally-eligible transportation stimulus project; however the state will be investing more than $9.7 million in non-stimulus transportation funds over the next year.)
“Without the leadership of President Obama and the members of Ohio’s Congressional Delegation who supported this bill, we would not have this unprecedented opportunity to invest in Ohio’s infrastructure” Strickland said.
A full list of priority transportation projects and other information about the state’s transportation infrastructure investments can be viewed HERE.
Recovery Act (stimulus) Transportation Infrastructure Project Investments
In addition to selecting projects which met standard federal transportation requirements and Recovery Act guidelines, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Ohio Rail Development Commission and the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) collaborated to prioritize many of the 149 projects that meet both the critical infrastructure needs of each region and promote lasting economic growth.
“The Recovery Act resources have put Ohio in a unique position to seize new opportunities and build toward a stronger, more cohesive transportation system in the future,” Strickland said. “Consistent with the 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force recommendations, these projects will move Ohio toward a more multi-modal system of transportation that links Ohio’s businesses, highways, railways, transit and ports into an advanced and efficient network for moving goods and people,” Strickland said.
As part of the state’s $774 million stimulus investment, ODOT will invest $603.5 million into 113 separate roadway projects. Of those 113 projects, $242.9 million is dedicated to 30 bridge projects, and $360.6 million to 83 pavement projects.
ODOT will invest $34.5 million into five maritime projects, including major enhancement projects at the Port of Toledo and the City of Lorain’s waterfront development along Lake Erie, and along the Ohio River at the South Point Intermodal Facility in Lawrence County, and the Wellsville Intermodal Facility in Columbiana County.
An additional $68.9 million will be directed to 22 separate railroad projects, mostly targeting the state’s busy freight rail system.
The state will invest $50.9 million to support improved intermodal connections, including $14 million at Franklin County’s Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal and Global Logistics Park, and $6.5 million at Toledo’s Airline Junction Intermodal Terminal to connect freight shipments by air, rail, and truck.
The remaining funds (approximately $16.2 million) will be directed to additional planning and engineering, as needed.
Among the highlights of these investments:
In the City of Cleveland, ODOT is addressing the state’s most-pressing transportation concern by targeting $200 million in stimulus funds, combined with approximately $200 million in additional state and federal dollars, to build a new five-lane westbound I-90 Innerbelt Bridge. At the same time, the state will invest $20 million to advance the planning and design of the Opportunity Corridor, a proposed 3.3-mile urban roadway to connect I-490 to the growing University Circle.
In Cincinnati, the state will invest a total of $23.5 million in stimulus funds to assist in development of the Riverfront Banks Project and the nearby Intermodal Transit Center. In Columbus, $25 million will widen and improve Parsons and Livingston Avenues as part of the expansion of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one the country’s best pediatric health care hospitals.
And in Southeast Ohio, ODOT will expedite construction on the final two phases of the three-phased Nelsonville Bypass by investing $150 million in stimulus funds. Phase one of this new four-lane roadway carrying U.S. Route 33 between the cities of Nelsonville and Logan began last year. Under previous planning, these final two phases were not scheduled to begin until after 2012.
Other notable projects include: $11 million for the Vine Street railroad grade separation project in Lima to prevent trains from blocking access to the city’s south side; $8 million dedicated to improvements in Akron along the Main Street Corridor and the new Bridgestone Tech Center; a $6 million intersection close to the I-75/Austin Pike Interchange near Dayton and improvements to the Downtown Dayton Gateway.
Additional highlights of Ohio’s transportation infrastructure stimulus investments are available HERE.
The full list of prioritized projects is available HERE.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Ohio will also receive $29.8 million for Rural Public Transit capital projects, including dollars set aside for rural intercity bus capital projects. Combining the Recovery Act dollars with Ohio's annual federal transit funding, ODOT will be able to fund every rural transit system request for new vehicles.
Recovery Act dollars will also fund critical facility, equipment, and technology needs, allowing Rural Public Transit systems to upgrade from the use of paper and pencil to schedule vehicles and allow the agencies to be more agile and responsive in providing services to Ohioans who rely upon them every day.
Last year, Ohio’s 35 Rural Public Transit providers offered more than 2.3 million rides to Ohioans in 36 rural counties. In rural areas, where distances are long to reach essential services, the people who use the system tend to be more transit dependent. They may be unable to drive a car, have no access to a car or cannot afford to operate the car they own. In 2007, over 45% of all riders on Rural Public Transit in Ohio were either elderly or people with disabilities. At some transit systems in Ohio this can be as high as 80%.
A full list of Rural Public Transit investments is available HERE.
“Investing Recovery Act resources to expand our state’s robust multimodal network enhances Ohio’s strengths in accommodating for a diversity of business interests,” said Mark Barbash, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “Meaningful, targeted investments in infrastructure and transportation spur both near-term and sustainable economic growth, rendering in our state an interconnected network of unique assets that link Ohio businesses and people.”
ODOT Planned Construction/Capital (non-federal stimulus) Investments
These stimulus projects will add to the more than $2.1 billion in capital/construction projects ODOT already has planned to undertake over the next 15 months (through state fiscal year 2010). That includes nearly $1.6 billion in investments through the end of this calendar year, encompassing more than 650 transportation projects in each of the state’s 88 counties.
Many of these non-stimulus projects will soon begin construction, as part of the department’s annual maintenance and modernization efforts identified in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). This includes 36 interstate projects and 125 bridge projects on the state’s highway system. The ceremonial start to ODOT’s 2009 Construction Season is set for April 7th, although a number of construction projects are already active.
“These projects speak to the important transportation needs of our communities, while creating jobs and positioning Ohio for long-term economic growth and stability,” said Ohio Transportation Director Jolene Molitoris.
Combined, the stimulus resources and the Department of Transportation’s planned state construction spending will total more than $2.8 billion. Together, those investments will create or retain an estimated 79,637 jobs based on federal calculations for transportation investment.
Prioritization Process and Federal Requirements
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government allocated approximately $935.7 million to Ohio through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for transportation projects. Of that amount, $161.5 million was directly sub-allocated, based on federal formula, to Ohio’s major metropolitan planning organizations (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown).
To identify projects to be funded with the remaining $774.1 million, the state established the www.recovery.ohio.gov website, which allowed Ohio communities, municipalities, businesses and other entities to submit transportation project proposals. More than 4,600 highway, transit, rail and aviation project expressions of interest were submitted through the Web site.
Mirroring a similar team at the US Department of Transportation, ODOT established an Ohio TIGER Team (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) to gather in-depth information from local communities on potential projects. After accepting expressions of interest from February 10 through March 3, the ODOT TIGER Team requested additional information from project sponsors on all 4,602 projects. Of that amount, 3,257 funding applications were returned.
The ODOT TIGER Team then reviewed those applications to determine federal eligibility and readiness to proceed with the project. Only 2,222 projects met the FHWA Title 23 federal eligibility guidelines set forth in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In addition, prioritization was based on criteria established by the FHWA for consideration during project selection: that priority be given to projects in economically distressed areas (characterized by high unemployment and low average income); projects that maximize job creation and economic growth; and projects which could be advanced and completed within certain timeframes.
Under the Recovery Act, 50 percent of the state’s transportation stimulus funds must be obligated and assigned to specific projects by June 29, 2009; the remaining amount must be obligated and assigned to specific projects by March 1, 2010; and the majority of all projects must be constructed by March 1, 2012.
To assist in determining job creation potential, the state used a standard Federal Highway Administration calculation - which estimates that for every $1 billion in transportation investment, 27,800 jobs are created - on every project, no matter its location in the state. Using this standard, it is estimated that these stimulus investments alone will generate 21,257 jobs as a result of project construction. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Development predicts thousands of new jobs will be spurred by the economic development that occurs as a result of the projects.
The stimulus-funded projects which are not already on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) will be added, after the federally-required public involvement process and approval by regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations, where needed. ODOT will begin accepting public comment on stimulus projects not already on the STIP.
Governor Strickland stressed the importance of ensuring accountability and transparency in the subsequent contracting of projects funded through the Recovery Act. And he reiterated his support for the establishment of a new, independent, non-partisan deputy inspector general position with authority to monitor distribution of federal recovery resources in Ohio to ensure taxpayers have full confidence in the stimulus process.
“As we put these Recovery Act resources to work quickly and efficiently, we must continue our commitment to taxpayer accountability,” Strickland said. “Every project selected for funding will be identified online. Every contract will be selected in a fair and transparent manner and subject to careful scrutiny. And we will require recipients of stimulus resources to account for how every dollar is spent.”
The governor also recognized the importance of providing all Ohioans with access to opportunities to participate in the recovery.
“We will follow the letter and the spirit of the law in providing all Ohioans with the broadest possible access to the opportunities that these resources provide,” Strickland said.
The State of Ohio will require recipients of Recovery Act resources to post any new job opportunities at both www.OhioMeansJobs.com and Ohio’s “One-Stop” sites. At least one site is located in every Ohio county. One-Stops provide a variety of training services and match job seekers with employment opportunities.
Other Transportation-related Recovery Act Resources Not Distributed by the State:
Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Other transportation-related Recovery Act resources have been directly allocated to local communities. Specifically, a total of $161.5 million has been directly allocated to local Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
In the coming weeks, ODOT will be working with the Ohio’s eight major Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to certify their lists of proposed stimulus investments, to support additional transportation investments and economic growth throughout Ohio. The MPO sub-allocations include $14.1 million to Akron, $6.6 million to Canton, $30.1 million to Cincinnati, $44.2 million to Cleveland, $28 million to Columbus, $17.4 million to Dayton, $11.8 million to Toledo, and $9.3 million to Youngstown. The boards of many of these MPOs have already approved local stimulus project lists.
Urban Transit Grants
Ohio will be receiving approximately $150 million in stimulus funds through the Federal Transit Administration specifically directed toward urban public transit.
Ohio’s 24 Urban Public Transit systems provide access to jobs, reduce traffic congestion, give individual mobility choices and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In Ohio, over 60% of all trips on urban public transit are work-related. Overall, transit ridership in Ohio was up 4% in 2008 over 2007 figures.
With more than 30% of its fleet beyond useful life, Ohio's Urban Public Transit systems will be able to use the $150 million recovery funds directly allocated to the transit agencies to purchase new vehicles which emit fewer pollutants and reduce operating costs. By directing stimulus funds to capital purchases, local transit dollars can also be redirected at covering operating costs (which cannot be paid for with federal funds).
For more information, contact Amanda Wurst, Governor’s Office, (614) 644-0957/(614) 832-7512
or Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at (614) 644-8640
or your local ODOT District Communications Office.