DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Cities and counties are wondering about the future of their infrastructure projects. Governor Mike DeWine says the state is short $1.5 billion, and they’re still trying to figure out how to cover it.
The possibility of halting projects mid-construction or even delaying them altogether is cause for serious concern as many drivers are slamming into potholes or detouring around closed roads this winter.
Chris Kershner is the Executive Vice President of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. He says, “We are facing a very serious issue that’s going to impact not only to Dayton regional entire state of Ohio. We need it to get it fixed right now.”
He adds the consequences of not maintaining area roads are very serious. “You have some bridges that are deteriorating, and not only here in the Miami Valley but across the state.”
Jack Marchbanks, the Director of ODOT, downplayed the issue last week, while still acknowledging the problem: “It’s not the end of the world. ODOT does everything it can do to stretch dollars. We are taking care of our roadways as best we can, but what people are going to see is a fall off in the quality of those roads.”
Kershner says few communities will be unaffected, adding that properly maintaining infrastructure creates jobs and invests in the economy. “Expanding the roadway so that employees, so that freight trucks can get to those distribution companies. That’s essential.”
Kershner says several projects in Montgomery and Greene Counties will be affected, including roadwork on I-75 and I-70 near the airport, and reworking Route 35 in Greene County.
Without an identified funding source, local governments may be forced to look within for fixes. Kershner says, “We have some local governments that would have some very creative packages to get infrastructure projects done. But they can’t do it alone, they need support.”
Chris Kershner says 2018 was a difficult year for road construction companies, saying there was barely any new construction in the state. He says this funding problem needs to be solved now to make sure 2019 is a different story.