OBM & ODOT Tap KPMG to Help Ohio Study Turnpike Options
Importance of Highways to Ohio Jobs and Looming Funding Shortfall Mandate Review of New Options for Maintenance, Expansion
Columbus (Tuesday, November 22) The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) today announced that they have chosen KPMG, LLP to advise Ohio as it considers ways to possibly use funds from the Ohio Turnpike to cope with shrinking resources to maintain and expand Ohio’s highways. Given the importance of Ohio’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors to job creation, sustaining adequate funding for the roads that keep these sectors moving is essential.
“Our highway system is the lifeline for Ohio’s manufacturing and agricultural jobs,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “But the cost of repairing and expanding Ohio’s highways is outpacing funding, while the availability of federal highway funds is increasingly unpredictable. Without new funds, highway projects we thought would start in the next few years could be pushed off for two decades. Ohio can’t let that happen. We must be innovative about meeting our highway needs. The Turnpike is a hugely valuable untapped asset, and while it’s the property of Ohio and would never be sold, there are different ways that it could be leveraged to generate needed funds, so our highways can keep supporting job creation and economic growth,” Wray said.
“Selection of an advisory team is the first step in our process to develop and evaluate options to make the best economic use of the Ohio Turnpike as a state asset,” said OBM Director Tim Keen. “Because this is a very complex issue, we’re turning to a team of experienced professionals to help us make the best decision and to proceed with the option that’s most appropriate for Ohio’s transportation system and our economy as a whole,” Keen said.
KPMG was selected from a list of 14 original applicants and five short-listed applicants. Now that a team has been selected, OBM and ODOT will enter into final negotiations with KPMG and anticipate having a contract finalized by the end of the year.
KPMG will help Ohio consider all aspects of the Turnpike to analyze various options, determine which course of action is in the best interest of Ohioans and make recommendations on how to proceed. Wray commented that the final recommendation could be anything from leaving the Turnpike in its current form; to moving it under ODOT; to leasing it to a private operator; to options Ohio perhaps hasn’t yet considered.
KPMG will have until July 1, 2012 to make recommendations to the State.
For more information, contact: Steve Faulkner, Central Office Communications, at 614-644-7101