Turnpike bill rebuffed by local representatives
State legislators representing Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties expressed their opposition to House Bill 51, which renames the Ohio Turnpike Commission as the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commision and authorizes the commission to issue $1.5 billion in revenue bonds to fund infrastructure projects.
Generally, the projects must involve public highways.
State Representative Tim Brown (R - Bowling Green) said businesses and residents of northern Ohio would bear the brunt of paying the debt.
“If this bill passes northern Ohio citizens and businesses and other users of the turnpike will be the ones saddled with this new debt and guaranteed increases in the tolls we pay for the next 30 years to address the needs we all share. It is a fairness issue for us.” he said prior to the vote by the House of Representatives.
Rep. Teresa Fedor (D - Toledo) questioned provisions that would channel revenue to this part of the state.
“Despite promises to the contrary, there is no 90 percent turnpike guarantee that turnpike revenue will be used in northern Ohio and no cap on tolls,” said Rep. Fedor.
Rep. Rex Damschroder (R – Fremont) said the bill contains many good features but it would create a “cash flow out of our area.”
Rep. Chris Redfern (D – Catawba) also criticized the bill.
All except Redfern, who is the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and didn’t vote on the bill, voted against it.
It passed, 58-36, and was referred to the Senate.
Walbridge Mayor Ed Kolanko said a recent report by the state auditor indicates the village is doing a good job of managing its finances.
Other than variances resulting from some amounts being allocated to the wrong line item, the report found no discrepancies.
The variances have been corrected, the mayor said.
He credited Patty Crawford, village fiscal officer, for doing “an exceptional job.”
The report covered the years 2010 and 2011.
The Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities will meet March 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the board office, 235 N. Toussaint South Rd, Oak Harbor.
Meetings are open to the public
For information call 419 898-0400.