THE TRANSPORTATION system in Ohio plays a vital role in the daily lives of all of us. Quality highways and roads impact many facets of our existence.
That being the case, the Ohio Department of Transportation is integral in the well-being of the Buckeye State. But like many agencies, ODOT is dealing with financial hardship.
In January, it was announced a $1.6 billion transportation funding shortfall. If not dealt with decisively and in timely fashion, such a debt would prove stagnating to some of the state’s largest projects.
Should that occur, it would prove crippling to the continued development within the state.
To its credit, ODOT tackled the deficit aggressively and with a well–though-out game plan. As a result, the funding gap has become much more manageable.
ODOT Director Jerry Wray held a “State of ODOT” address this week. He allowed the public an inside look of his agency’s operations.
Wray also detailed how ODOT is remedying money shortages.
- Improving agency efficiency and cutting costs;
- Converting certain non-interstate rest areas to service plazas;
- Selling advertising and sponsorship rights at interstate areas;
- Seeking to untap Ohio Turnpike’s revenue potential;
- Seeking sponsorship and naming rights of some state-owned assets;
- and probing public-private partnerships that could expedite the construction of various projects.
We credit ODOT officials for their proactive approach to what could have been a paralyzing problem.
The agency, however, could take its deficit-reduction efforts one step further. That being selling off unneeded heavy equipment which a state audit says is going unused much of the time.
The aforementioned money-savings steps have gone a long way in easing the financial burden in which there was no speedy solution.
While it appears ODOT is on the road to clearing a costly speedbump, we implore the agency to continue to use vision and creativity in an attempt to avert future deficits.