Governor Kasich promotes privatization of state's turnpike

TOLEDO " Ohio Governor John Kasich was in Toledo, on Monday, to garner support for the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.

Toledo Mayor Michael Bell and Ohio Transportation Director Jerry Wray, who both support the Governor TMs plan, joined him at a press conference to discuss the leasing process of the turnpike and its advantages.

" I think we could see some cool things happen on the turnpike," said the Governor on opportunities privatization would offer.

Toledo TMs Mayor and Governor Kasich both addressed critics of the plan, Mayor Bell said, We as Northwest Ohio have the ability to move forward in a positive way before anyone else catches on."

Indiana is one of only a few that have already leased its toll roads.

While the process has been a success there and in Chicago the plan to implement privatization in Ohio does have its critics.

"It's going to be further job losses for Ohio" said AFL-CIO Secretary and Treasurer George Tucker.

During another press conference, following the Governor's meeting, Tucker and Ohio State Representative Michael Ashford expressed concern about the Governor TMs plan.

"This will come at a job loss for the turnpike and tolls will go up," said Ashford.

Opponents fear a potential toll hike would discourage truckers from using Ohio's toll roads and believe a private company may be more concerned with revenue than maintaining the turnpike.

Those in favor of the proposal say provisions would be implemented, into any potential agreement, to make sure tolls are not unfairly increased and that the roadway is cared for.

Ohio Transportation Director Jerry Wray said, We will have strict performance and repair standards and we will not allow that to happen. The turnpike it will not go into disrepair no matter the season.

Supporters of the plan also want to assure the public the agreement would be a lease and not a sale of the turnpike.

Proponents also tried to assure those opposed to the proposal that if the plan, in the end, does not look like a good deal for Ohio that the state will not move forward with the lease.