GUEST EDITORIAL: Leasing the Turnpike will not benefit Toledo - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

GUEST EDITORIAL: Leasing the Turnpike will not benefit Toledo

D. Michael Collins, Toledo City Council

All northern Ohio citizens are stakeholders in the Turnpike.

Putting the Turnpike in the hands of a private company would make public accountability difficult if not impossible.

Turnpike revenue benefits our region as an economic development tool.

By contrast, revenue from a lease will go to the state, and revenue generated by a private operator will go to investors.

And money generated by a lease will most likely never benefit Toledo.

The turnpike has never received a penny from the Federal Gasoline Tax.

It has always been self-sustaining.

The state has used these funds almost exclusively for the three C's: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

Last year, according to the Ohio Turnpike Commission, 1.7 million cars and trucks got off the Turnpike in South Toledo, generating $7.7 million in revenue.

The three other turnpike exits in the Greater Toledo area accommodated 4.3 million vehicles and generated $38.6 million.

Can our state and region sacrifice that revenue so easily?

The governor has no comprehensive plan and history suggests a Turnpike lease might create a short-term windfall for the state, but Toledo and northwest Ohio would pay for it, for decades to come.

Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.

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