By Gene Krebs Fix-it-first is a goal many advocates of smart growth or "smart spending" have sought. Fix-it-first is a policy where governments concentrate scarce resources for maintaining and fixing infrastructure in which we have already invested taxpayer dollars.
In a very quiet manner, and without much fanfare, the Kasich Administration committed to such a policy. Recently, Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen reaffirmed that requests for new road and building construction will have to achieve “an extremely high standard” to gain approval.
Greater Ohio commends the Kasich Administration for staying true to their earlier policy of fix-it-first, and urge them to continue. Not only does this strategy limit the number of new roads, it is vital strategy for the economic health of Ohio, as a recent study of Ohio’s transportation infrastructure by Smart Growth America suggests. “Thirty eight percent of Ohio's roads have fallen out of good condition, and it would take approximately $1,133,665,917 per year over the next twenty years to bring all of the state's roads into good repair and keep them that way. Between 2004 and 2008, Ohio spent 24% of its highway capital funds on road expansion - $451,772,850 - and 36% on road repair and maintenance - $684,820,545.” With price tags like these (not to mention declining gasoline tax revenues and tight bonding capacity) fix-it-first makes good fiscal sense.