Ohio’s road funding crisis

Staff & Wire Reports

State transportation director warns of road funding crisis

Monday, February 11

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s road maintenance and infrastructure are facing an “impending crisis” unless more funding is provided for those types of projects, according to the state’s Department of Transportation director.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks issued his warning recently before an advisory panel that will make funding recommendations to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Marchbanks said contracts for road maintenance that totaled $2.4 billion in 2014 may drop to $1.5 billion in 2020, and a $1 billion gap remains in the department budget. He said there will be no new roads or other projects in the foreseeable future, and 90 percent of the department’s money must go toward road maintenance.

“It is a grim financial situation,” Marchbanks said. “It is also a dangerous one.”

The director said without more funding to fix the state’s roads, more crashes will happen.

Col. Paul Pride, superintendent of the State Highway Patrol, has said road conditions — including maintenance issues and inclement weather — contribute to about a third of highway fatalities.

Years of flat revenue from the gas tax, debt payments and increased highway construction costs have all contributed to the financial situation, Marchbanks said.

Former Republican Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers approved $1.5 billion in short-term transportation funding in 2013. However, that money was either spent or committed.

“There is a level of borrowing that’s responsible, and we’re not saying ODOT won’t borrow funds in the future,” Marchbanks said. “But we’ve loaded on too much debt.”

He said ODOT already is spending $390 million each year to pay for prior borrowing against future gas-tax revenue.

Jim Aslanides, a member of the advisory panel, described that debt number as “very startling.”

Aslanides, president of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, said the “public, for the most part, needs to be educated about this.”

The governor and lawmakers are considering an increase in the gas tax. The state’s 28-cent-per-gallon gas tax has not been increased since 2005, and it is lower than all neighboring states except for Kentucky.

Marchbanks said he will not make any recommendations, but the department estimates that increasing fees on electric and hybrid vehicles would raise about $2.5 million each year.

Increasing the gas tax by 1 cent would bring in about $67 million per year, Marchbanks said.

DeWine is expected to present his two-year transportation budget proposal to the state General Assembly this month.

Opinion: State Treasurers Lead by Example

By Shaun Snyder


In an era where partisanship seems to get the most attention, the reality is that public officials across the country are reaching across the aisle to solve the challenges facing states, communities and families. State treasurers, who play a critical role in promoting policies that increase opportunity and ensure that states make sound investments, are leading the way and can reassure Americans that common-sense governance is still alive and well.

State treasurers from across the country are meeting this week in Washington to discuss policies on several important issues. The National Association of State Treasurers Legislative Conference will focus on some of the most pressing issues facing Americans, including smart infrastructure development; helping parents better save for their child’s future; promoting responsible financial literacy habits; and securing the finances for those Americans living with disabilities.

One of America’s most urgent issues is the state of our national infrastructure. As a recent study by the American Society of Civil Engineers showed, our infrastructure has reached a breaking point. Fortunately, there are time-tested solutions. Tax-exempt municipal bonds, for example, fund 75 percent of America’s infrastructural projects — and they work. That’s exactly why NAST will work to protect the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds and reinstate that status on other, similar bonds. This bipartisan solution will help us ensure that infrastructure projects like new highways, bridges, roads and other desperately needed upgrades are funded.

An issue of similar importance is alleviating the rising level of student-loan debt. State treasurers have recognized this issue and have taken real action. For more than 20 years, state treasurers have managed state 529 programs, the primary tax-advantaged way for families to save for education. This year, NAST and its affiliate network, the College Savings Plans Network, will continue its long history of partnering with Congress to expand the way families can save in 529 plans to send their children to college — without breaking the bank.

We will also be working with our colleagues in Washington to replicate the success we’ve had on the state level in developing financial literacy programs in K-12 education. These initiatives are informed by evidence demonstrating that teaching best financial practices to K-12 students increases the likelihood that they will maintain proper financial habits as adults.

Finally, we will be working with policymakers from both sides of the aisle to protect the finances of Americans living with disabilities by expanding the ABLE program. Five years ago, Congress created the ABLE Program to help Americans living with disabilities and their families pay for associated expenses to improve their quality of life. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have implemented this program, many of which are run by state treasurers. This year, we are looking forward to working with Congress on this critical program so that it remains a critical financial resource for our nation’s most vulnerable.

During a time of seemingly deep partisan divide, state treasurers from around the country are coming together and proving that good governing is possible and is happening.


Shaun Snyder is the executive director of the National Association of State Treasurers. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Weekly Column for Publication: Sen. Sherrod Brown in Your Hometown

Protecting the Rights of Ohioans – Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two nominees to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals with a proven record of fighting to strip Ohioans of their rights: Eric Murphy and Chad Readler. Both of their records are too extreme for Ohio, and I will keep fighting against giving these judges a lifetime appointment.

As the Judiciary Committee considered these nominees last week, I had the opportunity to speak with civil rights hero and Ohioan, Jim Obergefell. Because of Jim’s landmark 2015 case, marriage equality is now the law of the land all over the country.

But if it were up to Eric Murphy, Mr. Obergefell would have lost that case. Murphy argued against marriage equality in Mr. Obergefell’s case, as the State Solicitor of Ohio. Murphy actually argued that marriage equality would be “disruptive” to our democracy.

In addition to arguing against marriage equality, Murphy defended Ohio’s voter purge that unfairly stripped innocent Ohioans of their voter registrations. And he worked to restrict access to contraceptives for women, filing a brief in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case seeking to deny women access to health care under the Affordable Care Act, as well as representing employers in other similar cases.

Chad Readler also has a clear record of trying to take away the rights of Ohioans.

As Chair of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Chad Readler pushed to eliminate reforms to hold Ohio charter schools accountable. He even proposed eliminating the state constitutional provision that guarantees Ohio students a quality public education.

Readler also worked to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that protects Ohioans from abuses by banks and payday lenders, and has worked to strip Ohioans of their voting rights.

But perhaps worst of all is his work on health care that threatens the coverage of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions – including more than 5 million Ohioans under age 65.

Last summer, Readler did what three career attorneys with the Department of Justice refused to do – he filed a brief making outlandish arguments challenging the law protecting Americans with preexisting conditions.

And he was nominated for this judgeship the very next day.

This unprecedented move earned him rebukes from across the legal community. Three career attorneys withdrew from the case – and one went as far as to resign altogether – in objection to the Department of Justice’s unprecedented actions.

One Republican Senator called Readler’s arguments in the brief “as far-fetched” as he’d ever seen.

Most voting rights and women’s rights cases will not end up at the Supreme Court. Neither will most criminal cases or consumer protection matters. Instead, many of these cases from Ohio will be decided by judges on the Sixth Circuit.

Eric Murphy and Chad Readler have spent their careers working to strip Ohioans of their rights, and the stakes are too high to put them on the bench for life.



Columbus,OH – 02/12/2019

The Board of Directors of Nationwide Children’s Hospital has announced Tim Robinson, the organization’s current executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, as the new chief executive officer of Nationwide Children’s, effective July 1, 2019.

“We are excited to be entering this new era of accelerating outcomes under Tim’s leadership. It should not be surprising that the nation’s leader for pediatric health care is also the top institution in the country for growing amazing talent,” said Alex Fischer, board chair of Nationwide Children’s. “Following a comprehensive national search, which attracted broad-based interest and conversations with the highest caliber physician and non-physician leaders in health care today, Tim was our unanimous and enthusiastic choice. He has served in key leadership roles at Nationwide Children’s since 1995 and with nearly 25 years of experience he exemplified everything the search committee was seeking in a successor for our outstanding retiring CEO Steve Allen.”

During his tenure, Robinson has transformed the traditional definition of a hospital CFO. This is exemplified in his current scope of responsibilities as the organization’s executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer. Under Robinson’s leadership Nationwide Children’s has marked many unique achievements as a destination academic medical center, research and technology commercialization engine, population health leader and a non-profit community partner:

Robinson is widely recognized for his business acumen, securing Nationwide Children’s strong financial position and growing the hospital’s investment portfolio from $100 million to nearly $3 billion. Nationwide Children’s is one of only a handful of children’s hospitals earning an Aa2 bond rating; a rating Robinson has maintained since 2001. This bond rating is the highest mark of financial performance achieved by any hospital in the United States.

Partners For Kids has grown to one of the largest pediatric accountable care organizations in the country, taking full capitation on over 320,000 lives.

The Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families program in the community south of the hospital has flourished, with more than 300 homes built or renovated; an increased graduation rate from 64 percent to 79 percent; and $22.6 million invested in the community through a variety of civic and faith-based partnerships.

Research and technology commercialization have accelerated, with 13 startups and counting during his tenure.

Unique clinical relationships have been forged with the central Ohio birth hospitals to operate their neonatal intensive care units, sub-specialty collaborations have launched with Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Dayton Children’s and most recently a Proton Therapy Center planned with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“Tim Robinson is one of the country’s best health care executives and as our next CEO will lead this storied institution to greater heights,” said Steve Allen, MD, CEO, who will be retiring on June 30. “In addition to his remarkable leadership skills, Tim demonstrates an admirable commitment and creativity in realizing Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s founding mission. His enthusiastic support for implementing programs to improve children’s health has garnered praise from colleagues around the country and has reset expectations for what an elite academic pediatric health care center can accomplish. I look forward to working with Tim and to supporting his on-boarding as our new CEO. His tenure will be marked by even greater things for this organization and our community.”

Robinson joined the Nationwide Children’s Hospital staff in 1995 in the capacity of assistant treasurer. In 1997, he was promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer of Children’s Hospital, and in 2008 was promoted to his current role of executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, acquiring additional areas of responsibility which include Information Technology, Community Relations and International Affairs. From 2011-13, he assumed the position of interim president of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. Prior to his employment at Nationwide Children’s, he served as treasurer for The Kobacker Company, a national shoe retailer with more than 700 stores nationwide.

“Over the last 24 years, it has been a joy to serve the mission of Nationwide Children’s and accelerate a collective vision of best outcomes for children everywhere,” said Robinson. “Steve Allen and our Board of Directors have done a tremendous job, setting a strong vision and enabling us all to be successful. That vision is brought to life by this superb team and I am deeply grateful to my leadership colleagues, our medical and scientific faculty and Nationwide Children’s amazing staff. I know what Nationwide Children’s is capable of and I am motivated by the exciting future ahead of us. We have a wonderful roadmap in the current strategic plan and we will be successful because even as we grow, we will continue to keep patients and families at the center of everything we do. This is as an organization that lives its values every day.”

In addition to serving as treasurer on the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Board, Robinson also serves on a number of the hospital’s subsidiaries boards including its physician practice groups and its homecare company. He serves on the Ohio Hospital Board, the Ohio Hospital Finance Committee and the Children’s Hospital of America Public Policy Committee. He is also on the board of Rev1 Ventures which partners with The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to accelerate the formation and growth of life science companies in central Ohio.

Robinson attended Indiana University, achieving a double major of a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Business Administration.

Robinson, 60, and his wife Jane reside in Grandview Heights, Ohio. They are parents to three children Lauren, Andrea and Jordan.


Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets are now on sale for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) and Broadway in Columbus (BIC) presentation of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour at the Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.) March 19-24.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, March 19, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 pm

Thursday, March 21, 7:30 pm

Friday, March 22, 8 pm

Saturday, March 23, 2 pm & 8 pm

Sunday, March 24, 1 pm & 6:30 pm

Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996, to ecstatic reviews and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996. RENT won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Based on original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign re-stages the 20th anniversary tour. Original Broadway creatives Marlies Yearby (choreography), Angela Wendt (costume design), and Tim Weil (music supervision and additional arrangements) are joined by Jonathan Spencer (lighting design), Keith Caggiano (sound design), MiRi Park (associate choreographer), and Matthew E. Maraffi (adapting original scenic design by Paul Clay) to make up the creative team for the tour. Casting for the tour is by Wojcik | Seay Casting.

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Something Rotten!, and the upcoming tour of the 2016 Olivier Award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Visit RentOnTour.net for more information.


CAPA and Broadway in Columbus present RENT 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR

March 19-24

Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.)

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love. Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, and by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. www.capa.com

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts, the Barbara B. Coons and Robert Bartels Funds of The Columbus Foundation, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

About CAPA

Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Drexel Theatre (Bexley, OH), Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts (New Albany, OH), and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.

About Broadway Across America

Broadway Across America (BAA) is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com and Group Sales Box Office. Led by 13-time Tony-winning theater producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 44 markets with over 400,000 subscribers. Presentations include Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera, and Hamilton. Current and past productions include The Band’s Visit, Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Hairspray, Mean Girls, The Producers, and Waitress.

About The John Gore Organization

The John Gore Organization is the leading developer, producer, distributor, and marketer of Broadway theatre worldwide. Under the leadership of 13-time Tony-winning theater producer and owner John Gore, its family of companies includes Broadway Across America, Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com, and Group Sales Box Office. The company presents shows in 44 cities across North America as well as on Broadway, Off-Broadway, London’s West End, Japan, and China. It has won Tony Awards in every producing category as well as numerous other Drama League, Drama Desk, and Olivier awards.


Staff & Wire Reports