Another piece of the funding puzzle for Ohio's highways is bond money. Simply stated, it is money borrowed, as authorized, by the voters of Ohio, and paid back over time with interest. It is like a mortgage on the highway work, the same as you would use to buy a house. By law, Ohio can borrow a maximum of $500 million, but no more that $100 million per year. One cent of gasoline tax and some truck registration receipts are dedicated to repay the debt. Without this bonding capability, Ohio would have no highways construction program.
Federal Funds Are Not the Answer
The first question usually asked after state highways finances are explained is "But doesn't federal highway money take care of most of out the program".
The answer is NO.
The federal Intermodel Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) was supposed to provide a great deal more money for Ohio's highways. Newspapers around the state heralded it as a bonanza" and "Windfall."
It has not happened!
Without going into a complicated explanation, here is what has happened.
1) ISTEA allows a big percentage of its funds to be transferred into mass transit type projects.
2) Much of this transfer of monies to non-highway purposes is now controlled by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO's). These city planners may, and already have, moved much of our federal dollars into buying buses, building light rail systems, bikeways, etc.
3) Congress has never fully funded ISTEA. Appropriations are far less than those authorized.
Utilizing Toll Roads
Currently Ohio has no toll roads other than the Ohio Turnpike. ISTEA now allows Federal participation in the construction of toll facilities. ISTEA also permits private construction of toll roads and bridges. Where else does your money go?
Under current law Ohio spends or credits away motor-fuel tax money for a variety of purposes, all of which cut back on highway work:
• Ohio Department of Health (for accident victims)
• Ohio Department of Taxation
• Ethanol Credit
• Various Unfunded Mandates
If the job of construction and maintenance for Ohio's highways was a publicly held corporation, it would be a $1.5 billion per year business -- one of the largest companies in Ohio, and each motorist would be a stockholder.
What an effective and profitable company it would be!
Highways are the heart of Ohio's economy. The inventory of Ohio's highways is worth untold billions of dollars and has provided jobs for millions of Ohioans. The return on your investment is a quality of life which is the envy of the entire world.
Benefits of Highways and Our Quality of Life
Each $100 million in highway improvements:
creates 2,393 jobs,
generates $98.4 million in economic benefits including wages and taxes,
produces 164.8 million in the total value of goods and services, and
in addition to these more tangible economic benefits, we move from place to place with amazing ease.
We've been smart investors in Ohio by putting our money into one of the nation's premier transportation infrastructures, but all good investments need sound management and Ohio's highway program is at a crossroads:
Do we reinvest by rebuilding aging facilities, or
do we build new highways to meet the rapidly increasing demand projected for the next century?
The following information contains some important facts on how your investment is being managed.
Ohio's Motor Fuel Tax-driving our highway program
In Ohio, only those who drive pay motor fuel taxes, and those taxes may only be used for building and maintaining public highways. This provision of the Ohio Constitution creates a true "user-free" arrangement which assures motorists of dedicated highway funding.
Despite this dedication, the 22 cents state tax we pay on each gallon of gasoline has been used for purposes which do not build or repair highways.
That's right, with what's left after all mandated activities and ODOT expenses, ODOT has less that one penny of tax for highway purposes.
Only 37.8 million dollars remain for concrete, asphalt, steel and their use in our highway system.
If that isn't bad enough, ODOT needs an additional $55 million per year just to provide mandated pay raises, highway patrol, and other operational costs.
Maintaining our Existing Highway System a Huge Undertaking:
Just as we need to paint our house or change the oil in our car, ODOT must protect our highway investment by paving, rehabilitating and rebuilding our state highways and bridges.
In Ohio, we investors own: Every year we need to:
19000 miles of pavement Resurface 10% or 1900 miles of pavement
9098 bridges Repair or replace 300 bridges
Other facts and figures
• Most Interstates built in the 1960's now must be fully rebuilt
• 26.9 of our bridges are posted for lower weight limits
• One-third of our major highways and 41.5 percent of our secondary roads are rated substandard.
I have a swale or stream on my property that I would like to cross or enclose. Can I receive any assistance from the county engineers?
The County Engineers offers recommendations for culvert sizes on or off County Road Right-of-Way as a free service. Assistance is offered on a first come first serve basis and may take longer to receive during a construction season. The owner will need to decide on culvert material to be used (concrete, plastic, corrugated metal, etc.). Any information provided is only a recommendation and should be reviewed by the owner's own registered engineer.
What survey topographic and aerial informational services are available and what do they cost?
The following information can be obtained at our office:
A) Aerial photography of the entire county area for the following years: 2004 (Scale 1"=660'), 2000(Scale:1"=1320'), 1996,1990,1985, 1973 (scale:1"=660'), and 1964(Scale: 1"=400').
B) U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) 10' Elevation Interval Contour Maps of the entire county. (Scale:1' = 2000')
C) County Topo 2' Elevation Interval Contour Maps of the entire County. (Scale: 1' = 200')
D) U.S.G.S and County Benchmark Locations and Values.
E) Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) Flood Plain Maps.
F) Latitude and Longitude maps for specific points in the County (i.e: FCC Radio Tower Locations, County Landmarks, etc...).
G) County Road surveys, Construction Drawings, and Road Records (i.e. :Road Right-Of-Way Width, Road Vacations, Centerline Surveys, etc...).
H) Records on past County Petition Ditches (i.e. : Granger Ditch, etc...)
Hard Copy Pricing:
Medina County Map
Aerials Maps available in B/W or Color*
8 1/2" x 11"...............$0.05.......$0.50
8 1/2" x 14"...............$0.05.......$0.50
11" x 17"..................$0.10........$1.00
18" x 24"..................$2.00........$3.00
24" x 36"..................$4.00........$6.00
Mylar......................$5.00........NA * Not all records are available in Color Larger than above? Please Call.
What is the Highest and Lowest Elevation in Medina County?
The Highest point is located on Hinckley Ridge approximately 2000 Ft. North of Bellus Rd. (T.H. 140) on the West Side of King Rd. (T.H. 193) in Hinckley Twp. (Elevation = 1321', 41 degrees' 59.0" Latitude, 81 degrees 41' 50.5" Longitude).
The Lowest point is located at the West Branch of the Rocky River at the Medina-Lorain County line, Northwest from the intersection of SR 252 and Boston Rd., Near the Liverpool Sanitary Treatment Plant. (Elevation = 765', 41 degrees 16' 28.5" Latitude 81 degrees 55' 17.5" Longitude).
Whom can I talk to about work being done on a Township, County, or State Road?
All questions concerning Road Construction/Maintenance on a Township Road should be directed to the Township Trustees. County Road Construction/Maintenance questions can be answered by the Medina County Engineers Office at 330-723-9561. State Route Construction/maintenance concerns should be directed to O.D.O.T. Highway Garage at 330-723-0091.
Where can I find out about Zoning Regulations for property in Medina County?
All zoning Questions (i.e.:Set Back Requirements, Lot Dimensions, House Size Requirements) are a local matter and are enforced by the Township Zoning Inspector in Un-Incorporated areas. In Incorporated areas, those same questions should be directed to the Municipal Planning Commission.)
Ohio was admitted to the union in 1803. One of the original offices created by the first General Assembly was that of County Surveyor, from which the County Engineer's office has evolved. When a new county was created, the Legislature appointed a court of common pleas, which fixed the time and place for a county-wide election. At first, only three offices were filled by these elections: Commissioners(3), Sheriff, and Coroner. The court appointed the County Surveyor, Recorder, Prosecuting Attorney, and Clerk.
In those early days of the state, the office of County Surveyor was a very important position. As early as 1785, Ohio had been the laboratory in which the Public Lands rectangular survey system was developed; and well into the 1800's the clarification of land titles and boundaries was the major function of the county surveyor. After 1820, however, the state became increasingly caught up in the "internal improvements" movement. Some of the county surveyors were involved with building Ohio's network of canals, and virtually all were called upon to spend more and more time developing the state's integrated system of good roads.
The increasing responsibilities of the position moved the Legislature, in 1831, to make the office of County Surveyor elective, for a term of three years "if he so long behave well and until his successor be elected and qualified."
By late in the 19th century the County Surveyor was almost totally involved with building and maintaining roads, bridges, and drainage ditches - but he still received no salary, being paid an average of $5.00 per day only on those days when actually employed. Legislation in 1915 established a salary and the responsibility of also being resident engineer for the State Highway Department.
1928 saw the county engineer emerging as the public official you know today. In that year he was elected to a four (4) year term which started on "the first Monday in January after his election". Then on August 30, 1935, the title of the office was changed to "County Engineer".
Only a person who holds registration certificates in the State of Ohio as both "Registered Professional Engineer" and "Registered Professional Surveyor" may actually qualify and run for the position of County Engineer. The elected County Engineer "shall perform for the County all duties authorized or declared by law to be done by a civil engineer or surveyor", although specifically exempted from engineering responsibilities on public buildings. He is the engineer for all public improvements under the authority of the Board of Commissioners with and for the County.
Function of Today's County Engineer
There are four distinct highway systems in Ohio: The Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for the 19,000 mile State Highway System; The County is responsible for the streets (approximately 21,000 miles) and alleys within their boundaries.
The County Engineer works with the County Commissioners and the Township Trustees to perform his various responsibilities in the following areas:
County Highways: All maintenance, repair, widening, resurfacing, reconstruction, and construction of pavements and bridges on the county highway system is the County Engineer's responsibility. This includes traffic control, safety, mowing, and snow removal.
Township Highways: The County Engineer is the engineering advisor to the Township Trustees for the maintenance, repair, widening, resurfacing, and reconstruction of their highways. The bridges on the Township Highway system are the full responsibility of the county.
Municipalities: The county is responsible for many bridges within municipalities, including some on the State Highway System.
The responsibility of the County Engineer for bridges as mentioned above includes the annual inspection and evaluation for the condition and load-carrying capacity of each bridge. The statutes require a uniform method of procedure and record keeping.
The County Engineer serves on the County and Regional Planning Commissions and is the engineer for each Board of Township Trustees in his county. He is the Tax Map Draftsman for the County.
In the unincorporated areas the citizen of Ohio might find his County Engineer involved with the County airports, sidewalks, weed control along roads and ditches, and the establishment and maintenance of assessed ditches.
In many counties, the engineer has been appointed to serve as County Sanitary Engineer. He works with the County Commissioners to supervise the construction of sewer and water lines in the unincorporated areas. The approval, regulation and operation of sanitary land fills and incinerators may also be his department's responsibility.
The County Engineers' Association of Ohio,
6500 Busch Blvd., Suite 100
Columbus, Ohio 43229
New construction will keep goods, services, people and JOBS moving. Ohio is quickly running out of highway capacity. Growth and a robust economy have caused vehicle miles travelled (VMT) to climb from 72 billion miles in 1980 to 96.7 billion miles per year (+34.3%) and by the year 2000 estimates are upward of 110 billion miles.
ODOT, through long and careful scientific study, has identified 179 of these such projects for which a "promise" to build has been made. Another 30 projects have a commitment for study.
Together this comprises a pipeline which looks like this:
179 projects $3.2 billion
30 study projects $2.2 billion
209 projects $5.4 billion
The Bottom Line
If state and federal funding levels remain the same as they are now - and that is probably optimistic - it will take 54 years to build these 209 projects. Gridlock, economic disaster and personal safety concerns would most certainly paralyze the state.
Finding new sources of revenue would help accelerate the program.
As investors you have choices. But the catch is only you can decide:
• You can let our highways deteriorate
• Add no new capacity (lanes or bypasses)
• Provide a reasonable maintenance level
• Provide funds for new construction
Your answer will determine you future highway convenience.
Ohio's motor fuel tax is 22c per gallon and yields $1,188 billion per year. Each pennyis worth about $54 million per year.
It is Divided for Use in the Following Ways:
5.3 Cents.....or $286.2 million goes to cities, counties and townships
2.7 Cents.....or $145.8 million goes to fund the ohio Department of Public Safety(Highway Patrol)
1.0 Cent.......or $54 million goes to the Transportation improvement Fund (Localgovernments)
13.0 Cents.....or $702 million goes to ODOT
ODOT Uses the $702 Million in Three Basic Ways
1) Money for Highway Bond Payments
• 1.0 cent or $54 million to retire bonds
2) Money To Operate the Department
• 8.6 cents or $463.5 million for basic operating costs
• 1.7 cents or $92 million for maintenance contracts
• 1.0 cent or $53.5 million for miscellaneous items
3) Money For Capital Improvements
• .7 Cent or $37.8 million for things like resurfacing, bridges, major reconstruction,new construction, consultant contracts, right-of-way purchases and to match FederalFunds.
The amount ODOT has for use is smaller each year due to increases for the highway patrol. Also, ODOT operational and maintenance costs increase each year.
One full cent of motor fuel tax is lost annually to increased costs!
The effect of this is that ODOT has about $55 million less each year to spend on Highway improvements.
Notes for direct2printer:
When following the directions for "Install" please only do steps 1 & 2.
The instructions for "Uninstall" directly follow "Install" in the online instructions and can cause an accidental "Uninstall".
The Medina County Engineer's Office accepts no responsibility for the installation or use of the software.