For the first time in several years, an Ohio Department of Transportation panel has voted to move forward on hundreds of millions of dollars in road construction projects.
ODOT director Jack Marchbanks said the Transportation Review and Advisory Council (TRAC) has nearly $400 million to spend thanks to the increase in the gas tax, which took effect in July. The TRAC process was suspended last year as ODOT struggled with its finances.
"Prior to this package passing, we only had $10-12 million available for projects, and that was just to take care of change orders with the existing projects," Marchbanks says. "So this really is a good day."
Twenty-seven projects around the state had applied for funding. Twenty were moved forward on interstates and state routes, fixing up interchanges and widening and adding express lanes. Half of them have funding attached, while the others were moved forward to the next stage without funding.
ODOT says these projects will help relieve congestion and enhance capacity, but that the agency is not building new infrastructure. That was a complaint raised during debate over the gas tax - that too many unneeded road projects had been built and now must be maintained.
The projects getting funding from TRAC this time are:
- $38 million for widening of I-75 (Phase 8 of Through the Valley) in Hamilton County
- $79 million for widening of I-475 and construction of a new interchange at U.S. 20A in Lucas County
- $38 million for intersection and interchange improvements along SR-32 (Eastern Corridor Segment 4A) in Clermont County
- $10 million for construction of northbound express lanes on I-71 between Stringtown Road and I-270 in Franklin County
- $65 million for widening and interchange improvements along I-77 from Arlington Road to I-77, I-277, and U.S. 224 in Summit County
- $8 million for interchange improvements to U.S. 40 and Dayton International Airport Access Road in Montgomery County
- $73 million for interchange improvements at I-270 and I-70 (Phase 1 of the Far East Freeway) in Franklin County
- $18 million for widening of SR-18 between the City of Medina and I-71 in Medina County
- $8 million for improvements to the U.S. 36 and SR-37 intersection and associated railroad bridge replacement in Delaware County
- $4.3 million for improvements to the U.S. 33 and SR-161 Interchange in Union County, bringing TRAC’s total to commitment for construction of this project to $11.3 million