An advisory board tasked with approving funding for new major construction projects has signed-off on spending $630.8 million over the next four years.
The Transportation Review Advisory Council, or TRAC, made the recommendation Thursday. ODOT could still decide to rank other projects ahead of those chosen.
"A year ago at this time we perked some ears up when we said we had a $1.6 billion funding problem when it comes to transportation. That continues today," said ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner.
But Faulkner points out that things are improving. ODOT has trimmed their staff through attrition and found other cost-saving measures to help fund the $716.6 million expected to be spent this year.
One of the projects high on the list to complete is the Pickaway East-West Connector between U.S. Route 23 at Rickenbacker Airport.
Gov. John Kasich hopes to use the Ohio Turnpike to help with funding for future projects. State lawmakers will debate about using bonds from the Ohio Turnpike to pay for road projects. ODOT Director Jerry Wray said during the TRAC meeting that he didn't think the debate would be as much about what they're planning to do with the Turnpike as much as it would be about where the proceeds would be spent.
"Is it a long-term lasting solution to the unsustainability of the motor fuel tax revenues for state D-O-Ts...no," Faulkner said.
Turnpike funds would be used mostly for projects near the Turnpike, freeing up funds for other projects around the state.