The quality of a region’s infrastructure and transportation system directly impacts its chances for current and future economic success. Measures of infrastructure and transportation include a review of major highways, transit and airport systems, and level of traffic congestion that all impact the ability to do business. Ohio has a robust highway and roadway transportation network that is mature and serves to connect the urban, suburban and rural markets as well as to major Midwest and East Coast markets.

While Ohio has a substantial base of infrastructure all over the state, the maintenance and operation of this infrastructure system has come under criticism. Nationally, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s infrastructure a “D+” in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. Ohio, like the rest of the national faces infrastructure challenges. Ohio’s driving on roads in need of repair costs each driver $475 per year, and 6.9% of bridges are rated structurally deficient. Drinking water needs in Ohio are an estimated $12.2 B, and wastewater needs total $14.58 B. 362 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential, and the state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $683 M. More troubling are the massive transportation infrastructure needs facing Ohio that include:

  • Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) estimates the cost of maintaining conditions and level of service on its system of Ohio roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is approximately $55 billion through 2040, but only $41 billion is anticipated to be available, leaving a shortfall of $14 billion;
  • ODOT’s construction investment in roads, highways and bridges increased from approximately $2 billion in 2017 to $2.35 billion in 2018, largely due to Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds, but investment is set to decrease to $1.85 billion in 2019, dropping to $1.7 billion in 2021;
  • ODOT’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) oversees the selection of major projects to be constructed by ODOT and their draft 2018-2021 major new construction list includes 45 highway and bridge projects in Ohio at a total cost of $8.3 billion, of which $2.5 billion in federal, state and local funding is anticipated to be available through 2023, leaving approximately $5.8 billion unfunded; and
  • State of Ohio only awards local transit agencies $40 M while Pennsylvania invests about $840 million a year in public transit, Minnesota, about $340 million a year and Michigan, $200 million a year.

Highway infrastructure is also an important measure of a region’s ability to handle economic growth. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s 2016 Urban Congestion Trends Report provides the current status of congestion and reliability in 52 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. This report also highlights relevant successful operational strategies and performance management approaches implemented by State and local transportation agencies. The graphic below provides 2015-to-2016 congestion trends from Federal Highway Administration’s Urban Congestion Report (UCR). Overall, congestion has remained relatively flat, increasing by 3 minutes from 4:40 hours in 2015 to 4:43 hours in 2016. The national congestion measures across all 52 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) included in the UCR are mixed from 2015 to 2016. There is a slight increase in the time of congestion and average conditions, with a slight improvement in reliability across the nation in the 52 MSAs and e Columbus has moderate congestion challenges but Cincinnati and Cleveland have illustrated improvement in traffic challenges.

For the full infrastructure report, contact Nate Green (ngreen@montrosegroupllc.com) or attend the review of the Ohio Competitiveness Report on October 2, 2018.