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^ This discussion probably belongs in the "What Interstate Should be abandoned" thread, but points up that years after being built, many of these roads STILL have little traffic and never will pay for themselves. These roads never faced the rigorous cost-benefit analyses, environmental reviews, funding issues or public referendums that other modes routinely face. Is it any wonder that transportation decisions are so one-sided?

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Or the infamous I-99.

 

I drove a small part of the Bud Shuster Highway nearly two weeks ago. I was so blessed to have a hugely expensive mountain Interstate highway all to myself. Do Google streetviews of it and you'll see what I mean. This is why the federal Highway Trust Fund is bankrupt.

 

Check out the Wikipedia article on I-99. This is a real zombie road, with calls to extend to Williamsport, I-86 and even all the way to Rochester NY. Eccch.

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Same as trying to build a $440 million bypass around Portsmouth. It's a path to destruction for the overall highway system which cannot support these financial black holes with user fees. It's why the Federal Highway Administration says user fees, which once covered 75 percent of the cost of the highway system, now covers only half.

 

BTW, ERrocc, I moved your post about the widening of I-271 to the Cleveland-Area Highway News thread in the roads section. It's a project, not a policy. Although it is a manifestation of a policy.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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This data is getting kind of old, but I can't imagine the breakdowns being all that much different in relative terms today.

 

 

Disposition of State Motor-Fuel Tax Receipts - 2008

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/mf3.cfm

 

In 2008 the States had just under $38 billion in State gas taxes to distribute.

 

49% ($18.8 billion) of State gas taxes go to pay for State administered highways. 

29% ($11.1 billion) pay for local roads and streets.

12% ($4.5 billion) pays for mass transit

The rest goes to State non-highway uses, the State's general fund, and other things.

 

Funding For Highways and Disposition of Highway-User Revenues, All Units of Government, 2008

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/hf10.cfm

 

Disposition of Highway-User Revenue (State and Federal gas taxes, I think also vehicle registration):

67.06% ($122.1 billion) in receipts available for distribution as percent of total disbursement for highways [$36.6 billion Federal, $80.1 billion State, $5.4 billion Local]

-4.56% (-$8.3 billion) for non-highway purposes

-8.38% (-$15.2 billion) for mass transit

-2.35% (-$4.2 billion) for collection expenses

-0.06% (-$103 million) for territories

 

51.72% ($94.1 billion) net total remaining

 

So this means that the total receipts for user fees, most of which are State and Federal gas taxes, only cover 67% of of the amount spent on highways.  Other uses for those funds decrease the amount available to road projects to just under 52%.  That means the remaining 48% must be subsidized from other sources as shown below.

 

Revenues Used for Highways

51.72% ($94.1 billion) from user fees (gas taxes and tolls)

4.57% ($8.3 billion) from local property taxes

22.19% ($40.4 billion) from general fund appropriations [$10.6 billion Federal, $6.8 billion State, $23 billion Local]

6.84% ($12.4 billion) from other taxes and fees

9.60% ($17.5 billion) from investment income and other receipts

10.95% ($19.9 billion) from bond issue proceeds

-5.86% (-$10.7 billion) to intergovernmental payments

 

100% ($182 billion) net total

 

Note that the above statistics are only for State and Federally operated roads and highways, which are Interstate and US highways and numbered State routes.  A few select local streets are included in some states.  This mainly includes non-interstate highways through municipalities.  The remainder of the local street network, is entirely funded out of local sources, mostly property taxes.  User fees do not fund most streets at all.

 

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And what do license plate fees go to?

 

Keeping the BMV offices open. Making the plates. Postage. Not sure why people think a measly $50-70 a year before these expenses is capable of making a dent in feeding these cash-wolfing roads, considering for each 100 gallons of fuel people burn they are taxed $46. People who drive an obese vehicle 500 miles a week are paying that twice a month.

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Public buses can’t stop at the county border

By: LORI ASHYK | July 30, 2013

 

Feds rule efforts to restrict travel into one Ohio town are discriminatory, but the debate keeps on rolling

 

In a predominantly white suburb near Dayton, where jobs and schools could expand opportunities for minorities who use public transportation, the conversation hasn’t focused on expansion. Instead, it’s been about how to keep the buses out. That debate – to restrict access to areas reached by public buses – even reached Ohio’s General Assembly, which removed a related amendment in a Senate conference committee.

 

The controversy over where buses can travel is framed by some as an issue of local control; others say restrictions on travel are exclusionary and discriminatory. Public transportation supporters say the tension is heightened by a lack of state funding for public transit and Ohio’s resistance to change the way it views public transportation.

 

“There’s been a lot of talk about public transportation over the years, but very little action,”  said Capri Cafaro, the ranking Democrat on the Ohio Senate Transportation Committee. Cafaro, who represents Ashtabula, Geauga and parts of Trumbull counties, said that lack of action has contributed to “a two-tier system of transportation.”

 

“There are those who can access it and those who can’t.”

 

READ MORE AT:

http://eyeonohio.org/public-buses-cant-stop-at-the-county-border/


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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An update on the money that TRAC stole in 2011 from Cincinnati's uptown streetcar connection...one of the two grade separation projects has broken ground:

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D03/DDD/newsreleases/Pages/13-0402_LOR_Groundbreaking-for-SR-58-project-in-Wellington.aspx

 

The other project in Toledo still hasn't broken ground:

http://galionlive.com/2013/07/23/transportation-plan-bypasses-north-central-ohio/

 

Also, in looking at that list, note that tiny Scioto County, pop. 80,000, is getting approximately as much money from the turnpike bonds as is Hamilton County, pop. 800,000. 

 

 

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Which seems odd considering that is pure Strickland country. Russians were talking about building two steel mills along the Ohio in the mid-2000s but they backed out. Yet the road projects meant to serve them still live.

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With all due respect to the people there, Scioto County has all the charm of Soviet era Russia.  Building the steel mills there would have been apropos.  Too bad they are getting our streetcar money.

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No, the streetcar money went to two northern Ohio projects that are incredibly expensive considering what they are -- just railroad grade separations.  How and why one of these costs $30 million and the other $20 million I do not understand.  Certainly, those two projects have not attracted the attention of the Tea Party.   

 

If you went to the TRAC meeting in 2011, Kasich shrewdly set it up so that the reason for taking away Cincinnati's streetcar money was "safety".  They trotted out a fire chief who recounted a fatal accident at one of the crossings.  By making it all about how railroads and streets don't mix, they had their flimsy reason for not funding a project that quite obviously puts trains on city streets. 

 

The Portsmouth project is weirder and weirder the more you look into it.  Why is excess toll revenue from Northern Ohio being spent on a project in Southern Ohio that couldn't be built previously without talk of an unprecedented private-public partnership where Ohio was planning to give over control to a lessee not only a new 16-mile tolled expressway, but also most major roads in Scioto County?  The bypass also serves almost no real purpose on its own, without upgrades to better connect US 23 to I-64.

 

So what was going to happen was whoever had the contract to lease this new bypass was going to be making a small amount of money with Scioto County as-is, then stood to start banking major $ once the rest of the region's envisioned expressway connections were built, 10-15 years from now. 

 

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The Portsmouth project is weirder and weirder the more you look into it.  Why is excess toll revenue from Northern Ohio being spent on a project in Southern Ohio that couldn't be built previously without talk of an unprecedented private-public partnership where Ohio was planning to give over control to a lessee not only a new 16-mile tolled expressway, but also most major roads in Scioto County?  The bypass also serves almost no real purpose on its own, without upgrades to better connect US 23 to I-64.

 

I don't think you've ever driven down there.

 

US 52 is a four-lane limited-access expressway from Sciotoville east to West Virginia, where it becomes a freeway to Interstate 64. There is also a limited-access connection into Kentucky via the Jesse Stuart Bridge/KY 10, where it intersects US 23 and the AA Highway/KY 10.

 

The bypass had adequate funding, but TRAC moved the bypass down the list - along with the final phase of the Chesapeake bypass for OH 7. The Portsmouth bypass now only has full state funding for Phase 1. ROW acquisitions are in process right now.

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Sherman, construction of the entire bypass begins next year:

 

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/trac/TRAC%20List/2014-2017%20DRAFT%20Major%20New%20Construction%20Program.pdf

 

 

What is so problematic about the Turnpike deal is that people in Northern Ohio who use the road pay federal gasoline taxes that *do not* go to the Turnpike.  Now on top of that, the excess turnpike revenue is going to road projects all over the state.  If you read Kasich's July news release, exactly 50% is promised to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Portsmouth, when the whole deal was sold to Northern Ohio under the premise that the bonds would pay almost entirely for projects in their area.

 

Imagine if the $3 billion had been spent on road and transit projects in Cleveland and Toledo -- could have gone a long way toward turning those places around.  But there is no hope for Portsmouth or the rest of southeast Ohio.

 

 

 

 

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All of Appalachia has been carved up with roads that have created little discernible economic development except allowing coal tricks to drive faster. So the Portsmouth Bypass is going to be the magic road that finally turns Appalachia around? They've tried that thousands of times already!

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Follow the money and you will see why the project is still going ahead. Coast should have been all over it. Chabot too. But since it's a highway and not rail. They turn a blind eye.

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Follow the money and you will see why the project is still going ahead. Coast should have been all over it. Chabot too. But since it's a highway and not rail. They turn a blind eye.

 

Maybe Chabot s Combover was blocking their vision

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>All of Appalachia

 

Look at population by county in Appalachia.  Population has either held steady or drifted downward in almost every county for the past 50 years.  Nearly all of the industry you see along the rivers is decades old.  Yet new state highways keep getting carved through hillsides.  Has the Cumberland Gap tunnel spawned anything since it opened 15 years ago?

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The bypass also serves almost no real purpose on its own, without upgrades to better connect US 23 to I-64.

 

US 52 is a four-lane limited-access expressway from Sciotoville east to West Virginia, where it becomes a freeway to Interstate 64.

 

Doesn't this seem consistent with a plan to extend I-74 east from Cincinnati? I mean, connect the dots -- literally.

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Doesn't this seem consistent with a plan to extend I-74 east from Cincinnati? I mean, connect the dots -- literally.

 

There is no such plan in place. Have you driven down US 52 in West Virginia and seen the projects that were completed between 2003 and the present? I've stated it before, but those projects in West Virginia are being built as part of the Tulsia and King Coal Highway projects and are being designed and constructed to corridor standards, limited-access but with at-grade intersections and interchanges. Just like OH 32.

 

Sherman, construction of the entire bypass begins next year:

 

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/trac/TRAC%20List/2014-2017%20DRAFT%20Major%20New%20Construction%20Program.pdf

 

Imagine if the $3 billion had been spent on road and transit projects in Cleveland and Toledo -- could have gone a long way toward turning those places around.  But there is no hope for Portsmouth or the rest of southeast Ohio.

 

Much like Kentucky's six-year transportation improvement plan, those are anticipated dates and not what will actually occur. See:

http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/view/full_story/20966016/article-ODOT-explores-funding-for-Portsmouth-Bypass

 

"ODOT announced earlier this year they would be delaying the start of the Portsmouth Bypass to explore a public/private partnership (P3) [...] it would likely be the end of the year before it’s known if a public/private partnership is an option for the Portsmouth Bypass."

 

"If we do not do a public/private partnership we are still moving forward with phase one of the project through traditional bidding. Some time next year we could potentially see construction start on Phase 1. If we go P3 we won’t see construction next year because it would be too early because it would be a package deal."

 

"ODOT is looking at these options because it would otherwise take decades to construct, based upon current funding."

 

I actually keep up with the news down that way. Folks live only 20 minutes from Portsmouth.

 

--

 

>All of Appalachia

 

Look at population by county in Appalachia.  Population has either held steady or drifted downward in almost every county for the past 50 years.  Nearly all of the industry you see along the rivers is decades old.  Yet new state highways keep getting carved through hillsides.  Has the Cumberland Gap tunnel spawned anything since it opened 15 years ago?

 

For Haverhill alone, which is between Portsmouth and Ironton along US 52:

 

Sunoco SunCoke ($400 million investment, 130 jobs); Sunoco Chemicals' Aristech Phenol III ($130 million investment, 25 jobs); Phenol I, II and III total 172 jobs and 90 FT contracting jobs.

SunCoke is looking to install two more coke plants due to the AK Steel Ashland Coke Plant closure (dad wrote the project plan for that one).

$500 million steam generation power plant is proposed.

New Stel International is working on obtaining final financing for an electric arc furnace steel plant for hot and cold rolled steel with an estimated $2 to $3 billion in investment and 1,200 FT employees.

(From TRAC, ODOT)

 

In the past few years, I've seen the demolition of the former New Boston Coke Plant, which was once part of Detroit Steel that had closed in the 1980s. The coke plant lingered on until 2003. Ironton had some aging industries (coke, chemical) that has since been demolished. The Ashland Coke Plant for AK Steel was recently closed and is undergoing demolition.

 

The Point, located in South Point between Ironton and Huntington along US 52, is on an old naval ordnance facility and later an ethanol plant for Ashland Inc. It is now been cleaned up (Superfund) and now employes over 320. At full build, the site could contain 2,000+ jobs. The newest employer is Chatham Steel with 32 employees; the largest is Engines Inc. of Ohio with 115 employees.

 

I could go on, but it's not as dead as it seems. And that's just in Ohio.

 

I think this has now veered off topic. We can debate the merits of spending money in impoverished areas until we turn blue, but just because it's not in the Big 3 cities does not mean that it is not a worthwhile investment or something to be considered.

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>All of Appalachia

 

Look at population by county in Appalachia.  Population has either held steady or drifted downward in almost every county for the past 50 years.  Nearly all of the industry you see along the rivers is decades old.  Yet new state highways keep getting carved through hillsides.  Has the Cumberland Gap tunnel spawned anything since it opened 15 years ago?

 

A website where people drool over pictures of the old road.

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I suppose it saves drivers from having to navigate a steep and winding road that claimed 5 lives on average per year. The tunnel was only $280 million, and it eliminated a blight through a national park.

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Public buses can’t stop at the county border

By: LORI ASHYK | July 30, 2013

 

Feds rule efforts to restrict travel into one Ohio town are discriminatory, but the debate keeps on rolling

 

In a predominantly white suburb near Dayton, where jobs and schools could expand opportunities for minorities who use public transportation, the conversation hasn’t focused on expansion. Instead, it’s been about how to keep the buses out. That debate – to restrict access to areas reached by public buses – even reached Ohio’s General Assembly, which removed a related amendment in a Senate conference committee.

 

The controversy over where buses can travel is framed by some as an issue of local control; others say restrictions on travel are exclusionary and discriminatory. Public transportation supporters say the tension is heightened by a lack of state funding for public transit and Ohio’s resistance to change the way it views public transportation.

 

“There’s been a lot of talk about public transportation over the years, but very little action,”  said Capri Cafaro, the ranking Democrat on the Ohio Senate Transportation Committee. Cafaro, who represents Ashtabula, Geauga and parts of Trumbull counties, said that lack of action has contributed to “a two-tier system of transportation.”

 

“There are those who can access it and those who can’t.”

 

READ MORE AT:

http://eyeonohio.org/public-buses-cant-stop-at-the-county-border/

 

First of all:  PIRG.  It’s basically a Ralph Nader offshoot.  Leaving aside their dubious funding mechanisms, they are misnamed, like most entities that speak of the “public interest”.  They are a lobbying group for larger, more activist government.

 

Second of all, both Calabrese and Gee attempt to stipulate points which are very much under debate, in this forum and others.  The idea of young people being more inclined towards using transit than their elders may or may not be true, but there’s certainly questions about whether or not this is a largely economic phenomenon that is sustained in later life.  I daresay it was also true during the mid 80s.

 

More questionable is this claim that publically subsidized transportation is a “right”.  Currently, it most certainly is not.  Nor is it the place of the courts to establish such affirmative “rights” as these.  It’s the place of the legislature.

 

Finally, consider the words of Brian Jarvis, a black man on the Beavercreek council.  His view supports the idea that Beavercreek is not practicing racial discrimination.  He’s in favor of the design rules, and he’s rather blunt about why:  high crime. 

 

Racial discrimination is illegal.  Economic discrimination is not generally illegal.  Cultural discrimination, in the sense that Beavercreek might not object to blacks but to stereotypical inner city residents, is also not illegal.

 

If the Beavercreek council is practicing either of the latter two, it is currently strictly the business of the people who elect them.  If others wish to change the state or federal laws, they should be lobbying the legislature, not the courts and not regulatory agencies.

 

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"It's all about The Man trying to keep The People down!"


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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>But are road projects responsible for those jobs?

 

Compare, say, the circa 1997 Union Center interchange on I-75 to US 32 between Cincinnati and Athens.  More jobs have located off Union Center Blvd than along the entire 150-mile "Appalachia Corridor D" highway, or whatever it's officially called, which was also finished around 1997.   

 

 

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>But are road projects responsible for those jobs?

 

Compare, say, the circa 1997 Union Center interchange on I-75 to US 32 between Cincinnati and Athens.  More jobs have located off Union Center Blvd than along the entire 150-mile "Appalachia Corridor D" highway, or whatever it's officially called, which was also finished around 1997. 

 

Union Center I-75 interchange and Blvd was definitely a financial shot in the arm as it spurred a lot of development.

 

At the same time I don't believe you ignore portions of the state which have languished for awhile. Just because not every farm in the state has been bulldozed for commercial, retail, or residential development to me is a good thing. But as conjestion causes the larger cities to be less attractive to many, and not everybody likes a large city, the smaller cities and towns can rebound but they need good transportation routes to move the goods created there. I am glad the entire 150 mile Route 32 between Cincinnati and Athens has not been turned into another I-75.

 

As far as industries along the rivers being decades old, so is GE Evendale. So is anyone advocating GE Evandale should be torn down? So where would it go? I can guarantee at today's costs of construction and labor its replacement would not be in Cincinnati.

 

Do roads create jobs? Yes, they definitely do. The explosion where I live, Mason, is directly related to the fact it is squarely located between I-75 and I-71 at one of their narrowest separations, about 2 miles. Companies looking at the entire US as their place of business saw some amazing possibilities. About 1/2 of the US population is within 500 miles of Cincinnati.

 

In Cincinnati, we can have salesmen, service technicians, etc. who can travel to about half of those  customers by car in about 3 hours or less. So this is an attractive location.

 

International companies take note of these conditions. Reasonable quick access to at least 1/2 of the US population. Driving access to at least 1/2 of that in less than 3 hours by salesmen, all of it in about 5 hours. Terrific ground transpotation to virtually the entire country.

 

Have you taken notice as to how many foreign owned companies have decided to locate either in Cincinnati or closeby? There is a reason for this which maybe Cincinnatians do not appreciate. In today's global economy either keep up or loose.

 

I kind of got off the transportation topic, but consider when these foreign owned companies are deciding whether to locate in Cincinnati, transportation is high on their agenda.

 

 

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>at today's costs of construction and labor its replacement would not be in Cincinnati.

 

General Electric is not and never has been in Cincinnati.  It's in Evendale, OH. 

 

 

>About 1/2 of the US population is within 500 miles of Cincinnati.

 

It's also within 500 miles of Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, and Nashville. 

 

Nobody here is arguing against road improvements in Appalachia in concept.  The problem is that they have been improved on a grandiose scale, and continue to be improved, despite the ongoing general decline of the region.  Quite obviously Ohio can get a higher ROI from the turnpike bonds if the proceeds are spent in the major cities.   

 

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kjbrill, are you saying we should spend billions on roads in case one day maybe "conjestion" might make people want to live in these areas with no jobs? Did you ever think that perhaps you look at "conjestion" differently that other people, in that it causes more of a reaction to you than the general population? People willfully put themselves in "conjested" situations all the time because they feel that they are worth it. Or else no "conjestion" would ever occur!

 

"Conjestion" = economic activity

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kjbrill, are you saying we should spend billions on roads in case one day maybe "conjestion" might make people want to live in these areas with no jobs? Did you ever think that perhaps you look at "conjestion" differently that other people, in that it causes more of a reaction to you than the general population? People willfully put themselves in "conjested" situations all the time because they feel that they are worth it. Or else no "conjestion" would ever occur!

 

"Conjestion" = economic activity

 

The point some of us have always made is that it is something most people consider a necessary evil, not a virtue.  Good planning minimizes it wherever possible.  It's often caused by poor planning (example:  I-271S north of 480 during rush hour).

 

The idea that congestion is necessary for economic activity is an obsolete relic of an era where communication was much slower and error prone.

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Highway funding stalls out

By  Rick Rouan

The Columbus Dispatch Monday September 2, 2013 6:20 AM

 

Ohio’s interstate system is among the busiest in the country, absorbing billions of miles of wear and tear each year.

 

But the pace of cash flowing into state coffers to pay for highway upkeep hasn’t kept up with traffic levels, and some say that funding should go to alternative modes of transportation.

 

Since 1988, vehicle-miles traveled on Ohio’s interstate system had grown from about 21.5 billion to nearly 31.4 billion in 2011, a 45 percent increase. Only California, Texas and Florida have busier interstates than Ohio’s 1,574-mile system, according to new 2011 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the latest available.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/09/02/highway-funding-stalls-out.html


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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>There is no such plan in place. Have you driven down US 52 in West Virginia and seen the projects that were completed between 2003 and the present? I've stated it before, but those projects in West Virginia are being built as part of the Tulsia and King Coal Highway projects and are being designed and constructed to corridor standards, limited-access but with at-grade intersections and interchanges. Just like OH 32.

 

Sherman, this sign is 1 mile south of the Ohio River on US 52 in West Virginia.  You claim that you have driven these roads, but somehow you missed this huge sign.  You also missed that US 52 in West Virginia absolutely is being built to interstate highway standards -- all they will have to do is cut off side streets and build flyover ramps.  They're doing all the rock blasting now. 

I-7374_zpsce3bdf28.jpg

 

Directly across the river, US 52 is a 30-mile expressway to Portsmouth.  The new Portsmouth Bypass will be a 16-mile expressway connecting directly to US 23, which is a 4-lane divided highway north to US 32, which is a 4-lane divided highway west to Cincinnati's I-275.  US 32 near I-275 is all being upgraded to interstate highway standards as we speak, and elimination of grade crossings in all of Clermont County is now under study.  Oh, then there's that whole Eastern Corridor thing, where they turn Red Bank into a fully grade-separated expressway and connect that with I-275.

 

The missing piece of the puzzle isn't more road improvements, it's the federal and/or state fuel tax increases that will let Ohio and WV finish this road to the Carolinas.  After all the current projects are finished, the only things left to do in Ohio will be about 50 overpasses and 10-15 interchanges between Cincinnati and Huntington.  If each project costs $10 million, it's a cost of about $750 million to $1.25 billion.  That's a piece of cake when the fuel taxes go up. 

 

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I'm well aware of those signs; they have been installed since 2001. And you are aware that I've photographed every segment of that highway, met with Mike Mitchem, the Executive Director of the King Coal Highway Authority and toured multiple sites with Mike and other WVDOT folks doing freelance work for them. I've also been working with them on freelance for the Coalfields Expressway, Corridor H, Corridor D (when that was under construction), some bridge projects and so on?

 

You are aware that that section you photographed above, was built circa 2003, partially on an alignment that was completed in 1962 as a relocated County Route 1 (before US 52 moved from what is today WV 152 west to the Big Sandy River alignment). And the segment you photographed, from Interstate 64 south to the WV 75 stub interchange, has several at-grade intersections that were not removed when it was widened circa 2003?

 

What about the Prichard bypass further south, completed in 1997 that includes an interchange with Burke Hollow Road and intersections with CR 20 and two gravel side roads? Or the isolated and disconnected Crum bypass, which is only two-lanes but paved for four (as of 2011 on my last site visit), has a stub interchange with US 52 and intersections with Crum Hollow Road, Silver Creek Road and Jennies Creek Road? Note that those intersections rise up on a fill and isn't something you can just disconnect or bury with ease. This isn't Ohio, where our terrain is much more adaptable. Oh, and the site plans show for no further interchanges, bridges or tunnels for the intersecting roadways.

 

Oh wait, you might be wondering about the Delbarton cut-off, from WV 65 south of Williamson southeastward to WV 44 in Mingo County that was opened in mid-2013 as a two-lane highway on a four-lane right-of-way? It features intersections with WV 65, WV 44 and a school - none of which have provisions for an interchange. None of the site plans for this section and others have provisions or the right-of-way for interchanges.

 

The Welch segment has not been paved but is graded, and includes provisions for a volleyball interchange with the Coalfields Expressway. Just to the east of that, for the Coalfields Expressway, will be an at-grade intersection for the prison complex. The grading was completed circa 2002.

 

Specific to the Bluefield segment, the US 460/52 interchange east of Bluefield was completed in 2002. The segment eastward to I-77 was widened a decade earlier as an unrelated project. To the north are two bridges completed circa 2009 that connect to nothing on the other end; the grading stops and the pavement ends. Money is allocated to extend this section to Airport Road, WV 123, where an interchange has been proposed.

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Sherman, are you aware that something called the I-73/74 Association has existed for many years and is still active?  They absolutely are lobbying to get this whole thing finished.  The states are doing what they can with the funding they have at present.  The federal gasoline tax hasn't been raised since 1991.  When it is, game on.  It'll be a feeding frenzy here and around the country as zombie highway projects all come to life. 

 

These guys who work for state DOT's a lot of time, like yourself, have zero sense of how capitalism and politics work.  They are either can't connect the dots or they are yes men who do what they are told and know how to deflect questions.  The issue here is not if these highway improvements will be convenient to locals and a small number of businesses and long-distance travelers.  The issue is that public funds are being used to fund very low ROI investments. 

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The issue is that public funds are being used to fund very low ROI investments. 

 

Each new rural highway we build, costing hundreds of millions per mile to construct and many millions more to maintain per year, causes the federal Highway Trust Fund to sink farther into insolvency. Meanwhile states leverage their existing highway assets (ie: the Ohio Turnpike) to deficit-spend in order to keep the highway-building machine going far past the point of public demand. The railroad system was overbuilt at its peak too. Unfortunately this nation forgets its history all too quickly.....


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Yes, Jake, I'm aware of the association. It's not had any activity since 2011. (http://www.i73.com/) I subscribed to their reports but that was the last time I received any communication.

 

As for West Virginia specifically, new estimates for completion of the King Coal and Tulsia Highway projects is now topping $1.3 billion for ~77 miles of four-lane corridor highway. That's with interchanges and intersections. Some segments, such as the WV 65-44 Delbarton south alignment, has been constructed as a two-lane road on a four-lane ROW as it is not expected to be complete south or north for at least a decade or more. That highway segment, by the way, was on strip mined land and so much of the earth moving was just completed. That's how a segment north of Welch will be built - on strip mined land, but the DOT has to wait until the coal extraction is finished.

 

There were talks of tolling the highway, much like the 11 miles of US 35 that remain to be four-laned between Buffalo and Point Pleasant, but the West Virginia Turnpike has pretty much made that a no-go. Tolling is one of the best ways to raise revenue on this type of roadway, but the studies found that eliminating all intersections would raise the to near $1.7 billion for US 52, go through the poorest areas in West Virginia (and some of the poorest in the nation) and is politically infeasible. The Turnpike is already referred to as a "southern" tax since the Turnpike was never completed north of Charleston as it was originally intended to.

 

So the state is looking at upping tolls and fees to generate $1.1 billion just for maintenance and new construction.

http://timeswv.com/westvirginia/x789523806/State-highway-group-considers-toll-fee-hikes

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ODOT spends only $2M/yr in rail & $30M/yr in transit (equals ODOT's roadside grass-cutting budget). And now it's deficit-spending on roads. So why take on local airports?

 

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Operations/Aviation/OhioAirportsFocusStudy/Documents/publicmeetingnotice.pdf


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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ODOT Director Jerry Wray was part of the Welcome Session at today's annual meeting of the AASHTO (American Association of State highway and Transportation Officials) Standing Committee on Rail Transportation, scheduled for Sunday through Wednesday in Columbus OH.

 

Anyone care to guess how many times he uttered the word "rail" in his welcoming remarks at this national rail meeting?

 

ZERO

 

http://allaboardohio.org/2013/08/28/ohio-the-pariah-of-passenger-rail/

 

EDIT: I wasn't expecting him to apologize to the attendees for taking away their opportunity to arrive Columbus by train. But I at least expected him to say the word "rail" at least once. Instead, he urged attendees to spend lots of money while in Columbus this week. So he won't let ODOT spend money on rail but he expects other states' rail officials to spend money here. Only in Ohio......


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Would that Ohio's DOT could be this progressive…..

 

Massachusetts DOT connects modes of transportation with public health

Progressive Railroading

By Julie Sneider, Assistant Editor

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is taking a "healthy" approach to planning transportation options for state residents.

 

Earlier this fall, MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey directed all department divisions to apply a new policy when planning state transportation projects: They must increase bicycling, walking or the use of public transit. Davey’s directive was the latest step toward achieving statewide objectives in MassDOT’s sustainability initiative known as "GreenDOT," which calls for tripling the share of travel in Massachusetts via bicycling, public transit and walking by 2030.

 

It also calls for MassDOT to develop a guide for community planners to use when creating shared-use paths on or along former railroad corridors.

 

 

READ MORE AT: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/article/Massachusetts-DOT-connects-modes-of-transportation-with-public-health--38354?source=pr_digital11/13/2013&usedate=11/13/2013&email=footestu@att.net&cid=15166

 

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ODOT is brilliant....

 

Retweeted by ODOT Cleveland

Innerbelt Bridge ‏@ODOT_Innerbelt  1h

The #Innerbelt inbound will be closed for your Fri AM commute. Our advice: Use alternate forms of transportation. Bike and walk if you can!

 

To which a follower replied....

 

Lynda Szeltner ‏@lyndaszelt  29m

@ODOT_Innerbelt  Bike or walk. Temp less than 30 degrees in morn. Bike or walk from Middleburg Hts to downtown?Stupid suggestion !!!


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I've seen little discussion of Senate Joint Resolution 6 on Urban Ohio. It's yet another "Gimme" for highway contractors: $1.9 billion in bonds for roads, bridges and water projects. No public transportation of ANY kind is included and it could be on the ballot in May 2014. Here's a link:

 

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2013/12/gop_lawmakers_to_seek_funding.html#incart_river_default#incart_m-rpt-2

 

The important thing to note is that this is not gas tax money. It's not subject to the restrictions of Article XII, 5a of the state Constitution (Thou Shalt Not Spend Any Gas Taxes On Anything But Roads), there fore there should be a call to spend at LEAST 10% ($190 million) on PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

 

I'd like to see a strategic meeting of all possible stakeholders who might have an interest in public transportation:

 

Transportation Advocacy groups (AAO, Clevelanders for Transportation Equity, Transit Columbus, Cincinnati Streetcar, etc)

Labor (AFL-CIO, Transit Workers Union, BLET, UTU, etc

Transit manufacturers and suppliers, Rail passenger manufacturers and suppliers, etc

Civil Rights (NAACP, ACLU, etc)

Handicap orgs (Ohio Federation of the Blind, etc)

Urban activists

Enviros

Seniors

Others

 

I would advocate that such a meeting take place as soon as possible and that participants agree to:

 

a) Demand greater funding for public transportation from the state, especially for general funds. A goal should be have a set-aside of 10% of ODOT's budget.

b) That 10% of the funds created by SJR 6 be allocated to public transportation projects, including light rail, streetcars, bus and intercity/regional rail.

c) Go before the House and Senate Transportation Committees to demand the above change. I might add that if we are told "it's too late" to include Public transportation or that we should "wait till next time", we should tell them that we would campaign against the issue should it come before the voters.

 

Aside from that, a PAC should be set up. This is really a money game and while we can't match the highway boys, we CAN affect some races.

 

I think there is a crying need for unity on a statewide basis. We are small, divided and weak. That needs to change.

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The large majority of Public Transportation in Ohio uses roads. Isn't an investment in roads sort of like and investment in Public Transportation? There are far more busses than trains.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for increased transit funding. I just believe it should be 100% for rail, as RTA's already benefit from road improvements. Also I'm not sure I trust GCRTA with more money based on their poor decision track record.

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The large majority of Public Transportation in Ohio uses roads. Isn't an investment in roads sort of like and investment in Public Transportation? There are far more busses than trains.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for increased transit funding. I just believe it should be 100% for rail, as RTA's already benefit from road improvements. Also I'm not sure I trust GCRTA with more money based on their poor decision track record.

 

Do you expect the General Assembly, with its suburban/rural bias, to guarantee that this road funding will be used in already established communities whose land use patterns are transit-friendly? Or will these tax dollars be used to continue to eviscerate our existing communities and replace them with drive-or-die land uses beyond the tax jurisdictions of the existing transit systems?

 

Will they urge that roads be designed as Complete Streets? Will these roads be designed with Transit Waiting Environments, protected bike lanes/cycle tracks, and traffic-calming in pedestrian-oriented business districts? Or will they be absent those elements and sidewalks, to move as much traffic as possible and as fast as possible?

 

And yes, since the use of these funds are not restricted by Article XII, Section 5a of the Ohio Constitution, why should we not make these flexible for use in rail transit and yes, rail freight applications? Imagine how many pavement- and bridge-damaging trucks we can take off the roads by providing more freight traffic capacity on the rails, especially at critical choke points like Fostoria, Toledo's Maumee River bridge, Cincinnati's Mill Creek Valley, Cleveland's Lakefront Bypass, etc. etc.

 

BTW, you should get to know ODOT a little better! LOL - GCRTA looks like a fiscally cautious and prudent user of public dollars next to ODOT.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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The large majority of Public Transportation in Ohio uses roads. Isn't an investment in roads sort of like and investment in Public Transportation? There are far more busses than trains.

 

This appears to be a chicken and egg argument. Since the state spends all of its dollars on roads, it follows that most public transportation would use roads. HOWEVER, if there is no money for buses or intermodal hubs, roads are useless and everyone still has to drive. Those who can't drive are relegated to the nether regions of society as a result.

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