The Ohio Dept. of Transportation has a draft list of projects worth almost $3 billion that could benefit from a federal stimulus program. But that list is growing�perhaps to even double that figure�as ODOT continues to gather information, says spokesman Scott Varner. �But so much will depend on the restrictions placed on the dollars coming from Washington,� he cautions. �An important factor will be the ability to invest dollars across broad spending categories, and not just on construction. Ohio is losing planning and design jobs every day. These are real jobs and are important to the economy and future of Ohio.�
The original $2.7-billion list includes proposed investments in construction, engineering, procurement of transit vehicles, freight and passenger rail projects and statewide planning and transportation project design. It even includes general aviation, bike and pedestrian projects and port improvements. ODOT consulted metropolitan planning organizations, regional transit associations, the Ohio Rail Development Commission, maritime interests, and other transportation partners, says Varner.
The bulk of the work would still go to construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.
Varner says about $1.7 billion of the projects listed in the draft could be under contract or otherwise executed by March 1. Another $1.1 billion could be underway by June 30. ODOT also hopes that any federal stimulus funds will be 100% flexible, requiring no state or local match.
“The greater the flexibility, the more options we have,” says Varner. “And the more options we have, the greater opportunity we have to transform transportation in Ohio.”