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Turnpike Plan Will be Good for Strongsville, Mayor Says

Gov. John Kasich wants to use toll road to leverage other projects, create jobs

 

Local officials are endorsing a plan by Gov. John Kasch to leverage the Ohio Turnpike -- not lease it -- to create as much as $3 billion for state road projects.

"If all the studies are correct, it will create 65,000 new jobs," Mayor Tom Perciak said.

Kasich announced last week he wants to issue new debt against the 241-mile toll road rather than lease or sell it to a private entity, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Under the proposal, Ohio would generate $1.5 billion from two new bonds and up to $1.5 billion more from matching local and federal funds for transportation projects projects throughout the state.

Perciak said the plan keeps the turnpike an independent operation, but allows the state access to its value.

"This truthfully could be a win-win-win for all of us," Perciak said.

State Rep. Mike Dovilla, R-7, said in a statement he is pleased Kasich listened to concerns about selling or leading the turnpike to a private entity.

"While I maintain reservations about the diversion of turnpike dollars to other uses, I recognize the need for our state to be more innovative in its use of assets, particularly in the area of infrastructure," Dovilla said.

Kasich said no turnpike employees would be laid off. The turnpike will remain under the control of a revamped Ohio Turnpike Commission.

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