At a Columbus press conference this afternoon, I participated on behalf of the Ohio Chamber expressing our support for the recommendations contained in something called the TRIP report. Basically, the TRIP report highlights the progress Ohio has made – but also the challenges we face – in providing a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system in Ohio.
The report, officially entitled, “Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing a Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” was issued by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation organization. Its main conclusion is that, while increases in state transportation investment have kept Ohio’s state-maintained roads, highways and bridges largely in acceptable or good condition, the state nonetheless faces a multi-billion dollar backlog in needed but unfunded improvements.
We know that industry in Ohio relies on our transportation infrastructure to deliver the raw materials and parts necessary to produce goods, as well as to deliver finished goods to market. In fact, the value of the freight that flows through Ohio on our roadways is $1 trillion a year. Further, as the TRIP report points out, the quality of a region’s transportation system is often a major factor when a company is deciding where to relocate or expand.
And, while innovative steps have been taken to right the system – two years ago, for example, Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly figured out a creative way to increase the funds available for transportation improvements by utilizing the economic potential of the Ohio Turnpike – more needs to be done to address funding shortcomings. After all, transportation is part of the foundation necessary to foster job creation and directly affects our ability to compete as a state.
The value of the TRIP report is that it draws attention to not only what more needs to be done, but also the benefits of supporting a strong state transportation program. We encourage Ohio’s leaders to take a look at the TRIP report, and also to remain steadfast in their support for adequate funding in order to provide a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system in Ohio – lest a lack of investment becomes a roadblock to future economic development.