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Residents, lawmakers oppose turnpike plan

Published: Thu, October 20, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By christine keeling



Fifty people turned out Wednesday and spoke out against the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike during a town hall meeting at Boardman Administration Building.

The meeting was sponsored by state Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, and was attended by community and union members, as well as other local lawmakers. It was the second in a series of Turnpike Town Hall meetings taking place across the state to discuss the 241-mile toll road.

“I think [Gov.] John Kasich is hellbent on selling or leasing the turnpike,” said Gerberry. “The only way to change his mind is to let him know there’s a public outcry.”

Kasich is seeking to sell or lease the turnpike for 50 years for an estimated $3 billion.

Gerberry was joined on the panel by state Reps. Bob Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, Sean J. O’Brien of Brookfield, D-65th, and Kathleen Clyde of Kent, D-68th, and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, all of whom opposed Kasich’s plan.

Bob Pegg of Boardman said he drives the turnpike and isn’t happy about the automatic-payment system or the idea to sell it.

“I think they’re going to mess things up,” he said.

Other audience members were concerned about an increase in tolls, disrepair of roadways and increased truck traffic on city streets if a lease or sale were to happen.

Many cited their experience driving on a neighboring state’s turnpike after it was leased.

“The Indiana Turnpike has potholes galore,” said one audience member.

Clyde said its tolls have risen 400 percent to 500 percent.

One person who said he was representing General Motors Lordstown expressed concern that higher tolls would increase shipping costs and make the plant less competitive.

Who would buy or lease the roadway also raised concern.

Austintown Trustee James Davis said he is worried how a decrease in traffic from higher tolls would affect restaurants and hotels on state Route 46 and their employees.

Jobs also were on the minds of the many turnpike personnel who showed up to speak out about the proposal.

O’Brien likened Kasich to a “Wall Street raider” and warned the governor would try to privatize lottery and liquor sales next.

Hagan warned that lawmakers are selling pieces of the state while voters remain complacent.

He urged people to rise up, start petition drives and walk the streets.

“That’s the slap to the face the governor needs,” said Hagan. “Issue 2 needs to go down.”

Gerberry said he thinks selling or leasing the turnpike is a bad idea.

“Selling an asset that the people of Ohio have bought and to destroy the quality of that asset” is bad public policy, he said.

Gerberry said he would do everything he could to stop the proposal and even introduced HB 213, which would prohibit a sale or lease from happening.

He didn’t know. however, if a hearing would take place before a sale or lease was complete.


1VindyPost(436 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Kasich Privatizing Turnpike?
Bad Idea!

See, we all suffer! He better NOT privatize OUR turnpike. It belongs to Ohio. It is the largest asset we have. Est. in 1949, primary corridor from Chicago & Pittsburgh. This idea is one-time money; Cash Cow. WE WILL and SHALL STOP HIM on this note. He is running Ohio into the ground as he did w/ Lehman Bros. Reckless decision-making. Selling/Leasing turnpike to "foreign" governments, such as Spanish/ Australian consortium= Macquarie/ Cintra will create trouble in decades to come. Next>bridges, more ports. The pikes condition and maintenance will absolutely deteriorate while the tolls go above and beyond expectations. (Indiana Toll ^ 101%) Business travel via trucking, commuters, will be affected immensely, along with a great loss of jobs. As a result secondary roads will suffer, thereafter.
What the heck is Kasich thinking?! HE is a dead end. Not our Ohio Turnpike!

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2khaos(8 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Privatizing government assets results in the same thing as deregulation. Lower service, higher prices and loss of jobs.

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3AnotherAverageCitizen(1182 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

kasick being kasick.

Bad idea after bad idea..

We should keep Ohio assets in Ohio.

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4retiredfella(31 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I would like to do away with the governor and all his cabinet; we do not need a governor who wants to give away the state.

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5khuz(7 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The majority of the people in Ohio know that this is a horrible idea and he is following exactly what Governor Mitch Daniels did with the Indiana Turnpike when he sold it in 2006 to a foreign company called Cintra. This same group is also on Kasichs short list of interested buyers of the OTC( how convenient). The troubling fact is there is absolutely nothing anybody can do to stop him from his goal. This has been in the works and planned out since before he even took office. He has complete control of the legislature and the lease deal was given to him in the state budget back in March. It is a done deal. If you research this and other attempts for take overs made at other toll roads, It always ends at Goldman Sachs.

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6Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The best government money can buy.

Anyone know how Texas is doing ? Texans were fighting a corporation from Spain that wanted to build the Tran Texas Super Highway as an enormous toll road. I think they had Rick Perry in their back pocket. I haven't heard about it for quite a while.

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