Contract to study Ohio Turnpike Lease options worth $2.8 million for KPMG

The Columbus Dispatch
by David Eggert

Gov. John Kasich’s administration plans to pay KPMG Corporate Finance $2.85 million this year to study the possibility of leasing the Ohio Turnpike.

The consultant — which beat out 13 other proposals for the contract — will identify and evaluate a number of options, ranging from keeping the status quo to leasing the 241-mile toll road to a private company.

The contract was disclosed today in a request to the state Controlling Board, which will vote next Monday.

Fifty-seven percent of KPMG’s work will be done by four subcontractors, including the University of Toledo.

KPMG was chosen to do the first phase of what could be a three-phase project, depending on how state officials choose to proceed. Other KPMG tasks include assessing the physical condition of the turnpike, traffic data, rest-area concessions and parallel routes.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray has said leasing the turnpike in northern Ohio could “dramatically boost” transportation funding in the state at a time when federal dollars appear unstable.

Critics of privatizing the turnpike have concerns about toll hikes, upkeep of the highway and how and where the proceeds of any lease would be distributed for local road projects.

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