By Gene Krebs. Recently the Columbus Dispatch reported on the possibility of Ohio leasing the turnpike. I had a conversation about three years ago with a transportation consultant from Chicago on this topic. He indicated that he knew the folks in that industry and thought Ohio could get $14 billion or so from a lease. This was before the collapse of the capital markets, and I have no way of knowing the validity of his statement, other than that he is nationally regarded on transportation issues.
I do know that Indiana used the proceeds from their lease to create a fund for the other highways in Indiana resulting in much needed upgrades. My farm is located only 4 miles from the state line, and I have noticed for most of my life how poor the roads are in Indiana. No more. Now they are rapidly matching or exceeding our quality of roads. This is why INDOT will not be facing fiscal collapse for another 20 years, according to folks inside the Daniels administration, unlike ODOT, which is facing severe fiscal troubles.