ODOT Outlines Looming Financial Crisis
COLUMBUS (Tuesday, January 17, 2012) – After a year of discussing the looming transportation financial crisis facing Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) today released funding projections that could result in pushing back by decades some of the state’s largest construction projects.
ODOT staff made the recommendations during a presentation to the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), a bi-partisan group responsible for approving funding for the State’s largest transportation projects.
“Unfortunately, this is Ohio’s new reality. For far too long, previous administrations have added more and more to the list of TRAC projects knowing that there were more projects than funds available,” said ODOT Director and TRAC Chairman Jerry Wray. “Their poor planning has put us in the position of making the tough decisions and delivering the bad news to many communities throughout the state that there simply is not enough money to fund their projects.”
The TRAC is wrapping up a year-long process of receiving and reviewing applications for transportation funding projects throughout the state. The TRAC received 72 applications in 2011 for new transportation projects totaling nearly $10 billion. Planning, design and construction of various phases of additional projects totaling $2 billion is already underway. However, ODOT only has roughly $100 million per year to spend on new construction.
ODOT is funded completely with state and federal motor fuel tax and has seen that revenue shrink over the past several years. As vehicles become more fuel efficient and fuel consumption decreases, so does the amount of revenue generated to pay for Ohio’s infrastructure and create jobs.
“We know transportation is the lifeblood of Ohio’s economy and we cannot sit back and do nothing about this dire situation,” said Wray. “We are going to be looking at new and innovative ways to reduce costs and generate additional transportation funding.”
The TRAC now faces the daunting task of rejecting a portion of the applications for new funding, while ODOT must consider innovative or alternative funding sources to pay for the state’s growing infrastructure.
The nine-member Transportation Review Advisory Council was established by the Ohio Revised Code in 1997 and provides guidance for developing a project selection process for ODOT’s largest investments of more than $12 million.
For more information, contact: Steve Faulkner, ODOT Press Secretary, at 614-644-7101,