Warren County unable to find millions needed for roads

Growing county’s problems is part of national shortage.


Warren County has been unable to find the money to pay for more than $50 million in road improvements estimated to be needed to handle traffic east of Interstate 75 and the Miami Valley Gaming racino.

County Engineer Neil Tunison said there was no money for a $10 million Ohio 741 bypass suggested around the proposed Union Village development in Turtlecreek Twp.

In October, a regional agency rejected the county’s application for $6.5 million funding for the widening of Ohio 63 east from the racino, the first of three phases widening the road through the Ohio 741 intersection.

“Right now there just isn’t funding available for projects like that,” Tunison said. “There are just so many things that need to be done.”

Warren County’s problem is part of a regional, if not national, shortage of road funds.

The board overseeing federal highway funds in the Greater Cincinnati region awarded $44 million of $78 million in requests for road funds this year. Warren County’s Ohio 63 project was among $34 million turned down.

Compared to other projects in the region, the Ohio 63 widening was ranked less deserving in terms of traffic and crash data, according to Robert Koehler, deputy director of the OKI Regional Council of Governments.

Currently about 20,000 cars a day travel the area of Ohio 63 proposed for widening and there are 100 to 250 crashes per hundred million vehicle miles.

“In some years, that would have been enough,” Koehler said, noting Warren County has received federal funding for work at Fields-Ertel Road and Interstate 75 in Mason. “We couldn’t fund them all.”

On Friday, the county’s transportation improvement district is expected to approve almost $7 million in construction projects for road work at Ohio 48 and Mason-Morrow-Millgrove Road in South Lebanon and the extension of Innovation Way in Deerfield Twp.

But no money has been set aside for the Ohio 63 or Ohio 741 projects yet.

Complicating road-planning east of I-75 and the racino are state plans to sell about 1,000 acres of state land fronting Ohio 741 or Ohio 63.

Along with the bypass, a series of rotaries has also been proposed to manage traffic past the Otterbein-Union Village area along Ohio 741 up to Ohio 63.

Tunison said the developers of Union Village, Otterbein Senior Lifestlye Choices, should take responsibility for road improvements needed through this area.

“I think they need to figure out what to do with 741,” Tunison said, estimating the two-mile bypass would cost at least $10 million and might not be needed.

Otterbein favors the bypass, according to Gary Horning, vice president for marketing communications.

Tunison questioned whether traffic would justify the expense.

“Until we really get a handle on that, I’m not sure relocation of 741 would be needed,” Tunison said.

Even if the bypass made sense, “how would you fund it?” Tunison asked.

The shortage of road funds could be solved through an increase in gasoline taxes at the state or federal level. Kentucky is considering a gas tax hike, but none is currently proposed in Ohio or Washington D.C.

Brian Cunningham, spokesman for Ohio Department of Transportation District 8 in Warren County, said projects including the Ohio 63 widening and Ohio 741 bypass, are too “conceptual” at this point for decisions by the state transportation agency.

Barring new taxes or other road funding, motorists in this part of Warren County should expect to travel on some under-built roads.

“There’s infinitely more things that need to be done than we have money to do,” Cunningham said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

John McCain gave one of his biggest political speeches in Dayton area
John McCain gave one of his biggest political speeches in Dayton area

U.S. Sen. John McCain, who announced Wednesday that he has brain cancer, made the Dayton area central to his presidential run in 2008. McCain chose Wright State University in Fairborn as the place he was going to introduce Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the world. On Aug. 29, 2008, McCain made the announcement that Palin would be his running mate in the...
Ohio, local leaders react to news Sen. John McCain has brain cancer
Ohio, local leaders react to news Sen. John McCain has brain cancer

The news that Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, has brain cancer drew reaction from across the country and in Ohio. Here’s what some local and Ohio leaders had to say: “I have had the privilege of working and traveling overseas with Senator John McCain to strengthen our Armed Forces. He has not only been a hero...
Why is Trump surprised Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia investigation?
Why is Trump surprised Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia investigation?

Four months after the fact, President Donald Trump is still frustrated that his political ally and attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that is haunting the president.   "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before...
Trump has now attacked basically everyone who is in charge of the Russia investigation
Trump has now attacked basically everyone who is in charge of the Russia investigation

President Donald Trump has declared the Russia investigation to be a "witch hunt" and a "hoax," but he sure seems to be concerned about all the people who are leading it.   Trump in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday made crystal-clear his previously reported distaste for Attorney General Jeff Sessions'...
Longtime Ohio congressman dies
Longtime Ohio congressman dies

Former Congressman Ralph Regula, who represented the Canton region for nearly 40 years, died yesterday at 92. He served in Congress from 1973-2009. At the time, he was the second longest serving Republican member of the House. “I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend, colleague and mentor,” U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci said...
More Stories