Monday, February 04, 2002

Ohio gets less road money per person

State finishes at the bottom in federal money for pet projects

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The state likely would receive more federal money for roads if politics played less of a role in deciding where the dollars go, said Gordon Proctor, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

        Members of Congress for the first time have dipped directly into the general formula for highway money, which has been distributed based on population and highway miles, to help pay for local projects dear to lawmakers. By reducing the amount of discretionary highway money given to the states, lawmakers freed hundreds of millions of dollars for their favorite projects in the $59.6 billion federal transportation bill.

        Ohio lost nearly $16 million from its formula highway aid. The state also gained $21 million in pet projects.

        The change means more dollars are committed to specific projects instead of going to Ohio with no strings attached.

        Despite having the fifth-largest population and 10th-largest network of federally funded highways, Ohio is at the bottom in project dollars when measured as a percentage of population. Ohio's share of pet projects is less than $6 per resident. Ohio was not represented on the conference committee crafting the final version of the bill.


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