ODOT Spending Nearly $2 Billion on Highway Projects in 2021
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will spend a total of $1.92 billion during the 2021 construction season, spread across 956 individual projects in Ohio. The funding will primarily go toward maintenance, safety and repairs for existing bridges and roads.
“Ohio’s ability to safely and easily move people and goods is vital as we continue to recover from the global pandemic,” stated Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in a release issued last week. “As ODOT begins the 2021 construction season, there are many infrastructure projects throughout the state that will improve safety for motorists. We also need motorists to pay attention and not drive distracted, and to slow down in construction zones.”
Some of the projects taking place in Franklin County include:
- Continued work Downtown on the I-71/I-70 Interchange.
- Widening I-71 between State Route 665 and the southern Franklin County line.
- I-270 resurfacing on the north side.
- I-670 resurfacing between Downtown and I-270 on the East Side.
An increase to the state’s gasoline tax in 2019 is helping to fund these projects. ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks stated that without that increase, ODOT’s budget would likely be “in the red” due to a 15% drop in traffic volume during the pandemic year of 2020.
Still, some critics say that ODOT isn’t doing enough to prepare Ohio for the transportation needs of the future. In an open letter written in 2019, local transit advocate Stu Nicholson called for a $150 million annual commitment to public transit from ODOT.
“Despite being the seventh most populous state, Ohio ranks 45th in the nation for our state’s support of public transit,” said Nicholson. “A little more than one percent of Ohio’s biennial multi-billion dollar transportation budgets goes toward public transit, with nearly all of our transportation dollars going toward highways. As a result, transit systems large and small are forced to raise fares for riders, and continually cut vital services to work, school, and access to everyday life.”
For more information, visit transportation.ohio.gov.