|Lawmakers clear 70 mph speed limit, Turnpike plan|
|Friday, March 22, 2013 11:47 AM|
COLUMBUS (AP) — A bill setting in motion Gov. John Kasich’s plan for a $1.5 billion Ohio Turnpike bond sale and increasing Ohio’s speed limit to 70 mph on rural interstate highways has cleared the state Legislature.
The Ohio House passed the two-year transportation budget 63-28 on Thursday. Kasich is expected to sign it.
The measure allots more than $2.5 billion for each of the two years, plus money from the bond sale.
It guarantees 90 percent of Turnpike bond proceeds will go to northern Ohio projects. Toll rates would be capped on car trips by E-ZPass users of 30 miles or less for 10 years.
It sets the maximum speed limit for interstate freeway outerbelts in urban areas at 65 mph and on freeways in congested areas at 55 mph.
Kasich stated, “Passage of our Jobs and Transportation Plan marks a great day for all Ohioans and the job creators who depend on our highway system to ship goods throughout our state. This Turnpike plan is big change for our state, and I applaud the General Assembly for being open to and ultimately passing an innovative plan that will allow us to complete infrastructure projects faster, create 65,000 new construction jobs and help attract new job creators to Ohio.”
The transportation budget received support from both sides of the political aisle. Democrat Rep. Bill Patmon commented, “I am proud to have been a joint sponsor for this very important piece of legislation. This legislation gives Ohio a unique opportunity to keep promises made by past administrations to improve roads, bridges, and highways. In other words, this gives Ohio a chance to let Ohio roads fix Ohio roads. As I said the day the Governor decided to go in the direction of bonding the Ohio Turnpike, it doesn’t just make sense, it makes perfect sense.”
Republican Rep. Ross McGregor added, “I am very pleased and fully supportive of the outcome of the State Transportation Budget. Great compromise went into this entire budget process, and as a result we have a strong piece of legislation that provides funds for our state’s critical infrastructure needs, increases economic development and creates thousands of jobs for Ohioans.”