Friday, May 9, 2008
Central Ohio’s logistics dreams may be derailed by fiscal reality
Business First of Columbus – by Adrian Burns Business First
Amid the listing economic ship that is Ohio, business and government in Columbus think they’ve found in logistics the jobs-creation potential to stabilize the center of the state.
There is little debating that the logistics trade may well hold such economic promise, but the industry’s growth will depend on something Ohio has precious little of – money.
Tight government coffers raise problems for Central Ohio because experts say an overburdened, undercapitalized transportation network threatens to undermine other benefits the region offers – crippling the job-creation potential many see as significant.
…”We’ve estimated that roughly $500 million in highway infrastructure improvements will be needed to properly service the Rickenbacker area,” said Robert Lawler, transportation director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. In the next breath he acknowledged: “We’re having trouble raising money just to do the studies to determine how much money we’d need.”
Funding for infrastructure projects traditionally comes primarily from public sources. But Ohio’s transportation budget, and even the federal government’s, are at the breaking point. Municipal and county governments have stepped in to underwrite some infrastructure improvements, but with a list of projects from around the state costing tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s unlikely any other area government agency will be able to shoulder the changes.
“We’re obviously going to need to find resources,” said Robert Milbourne, president of the Columbus Partnership, a consortium of area top executives.
More Transportation Funding Needed to Attract New Jobs
May 11, 2008 by John