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A new report by Ohio PIRG Education Fund names the “Opportunity Corridor” one of 11 examples of wasteful highway spending based on its outdated assumptions of ever-increasing driving. The study, which details ten other highway “boondoggles” across the country, points out that the community has called for other transportation priorities, and that the data shows driving in the area has been on the decline for ten years. The study calls for the state to consider reprioritizing scarce transportation dollars to other projects.
“Americans have been driving less, but the Ohio and federal governments are still spending billions of dollars on highway expansion projects based on outdated and obsolete assumptions,” said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst for Ohio PIRG Education Fund. “The time has come to shift our resources to invest in 21st century priorities, like fixing our roads and bridges and providing more Americans with a wider range of transportation choices.”
The report, “Highway Boondoggles: Wasteful Spending and America’s Transportation Future,” notes that the $331 million highway would push through a community where driving has been stagnant for years, and where residents are calling instead for repairs to existing roads and investment in public transit. The proposed highway would cost $100 million per mile.
Akshai Singh of Ohioans for Transportation Choices said, “The people of Ohio can ill afford more of the same thinking from those making our transportation investments. The Opportunity Corridor, at $100 million per mile, is costly new road capacity for a shrinking region looking for more transportation choices and ways to drive less. If DOTs nationwide invest more efficiently in maintenance and other modes of transportation, we'll see our public dollars going a lot further than we do today.”
With limited resources dedicated to repair, Ohio has 27,015 bridges that engineers have deemed “structurally deficient,” according to the most recent (2013) National Bridge Inventory tabulated by the Federal Highway Administration (See “All Bridges” linked here.
“Why should Ohio prioritize spending on this highly questionable highway expansion while 27 thousand bridges remain structurally deficient and other more deserving projects are ignored?” asked Baxandall.
The report can be read here.
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