Speaking of his list of infrastructure projects the state can’t afford–including the 2nd phase of Cleveland’s Innerbelt Bridge–Governor Kasich said the other day in the Plain Dealer, “We’re not raising taxes in Ohio,” he said. “We want to be competitive.”
Which can be translated as, “keeping taxes low is more important to Ohio than being able to move people, goods and services safely in and out of Cleveland on the region’s major interstate highway.”
Or, alternatively, “keeping the status quo gas tax is more important to a competitive Ohio than making sure businesses in Cleveland can continue to do business.”
Is this a pro business governor? One who subjugates the needs of business to his stand on the gas tax?
I am not typically a big fan of new highway projects, but when a major interstate bridge is at the end of its lifespan, and when bridges of similar design have collapsed, and when commerce –especially in Northeast Ohio, the state;s most economically important region–depends on a safe, functioning bridge into the city, it seems to me that completing both phases of that bridge plan is a perfectly sensible, capitalist priority for the State–even if it means those of us who burn gas have to pay a little more to make it happen.
But the anti tax zealotry that enables an allegedly pro business governor to proclaim his tax stance more important than the state’s ability to maintain safe infrastructure and serve the needs of business simply boggles the mind. It changes the game. It makes Ohio feel like the Third World.
Remember when we were arguing–in fact arguing for a decade–not about whether the bridge would be built, but about its design? About how it would look, and whether it would support transportation for bicycles (and indeed any other mode of transport other than cars)?
In memory of all the research and energy Northeast Ohio transportation advocates put into lobbying for an attractive bridge design that would include a lane for bicycles, my next post will be a transcript of an article I wrote for the Free Times (RIP) almost exactly five years ago.
A governor who says “No, we can’t” makes all the optimism and logic in “Shortcut to Tremont” seem quaint.