Farm Bureau members take action against turnpike privatization

Buckeye Farm News

Ohio Farm Bureau members in northern Ohio are asking fellow members statewide to take action against proposals to privatize the Ohio Turnpike.

Ohio’s government is currently studying the best way to leverage the Ohio Turnpike, specifically privatizing it, and the results of that study are expected at any time.

Farm Bureau members who live near the turnpike have been busy attending local meetings, building coalitions and advocating against the possibility of privatizing it.

As Farm Bureau members from northern counties feel that privatizing the turnpike would jeopardize the quality of the turnpike and that there is too much potential loss for not a secure enough gain.

Although this is an issue that primarily impacts those who live near the turnpike, an action alert is being issued to Ohio Farm Bureau members statewide.

“Even though you may not live in those counties near the turnpike, people all over Ohio and businesses use the turnpike,” said Leah Curtis, OFBF director of legal education. “Having that good of a road at a time where we have a lot of other transportation infrastructure issues throughout the state, having that well maintained thoroughfare that gets people from New York to Chicago is a good thing to have for your state.”

In a video he made to accompany the action alert, Al DiVencenzo, a Christmas tree farmer, urged state policymakers not to privatize the turnpike and Farm Bureau members to write letters to the governor.“It is a very sensitive issue in northern Ohio for a number of reasons. Part of the sensitivity is because a lot of farmers and businesses use the turnpike and are very proud of it. They also have seen what has happened in Indiana where they feel the privatization of the turnpike caused the tolls to significantly increase while the quality of the road has gone down. At our Leadership Conference, the 40-50 Farm Bureau members in the affected counties came to us and asked for assistance in getting more organized, getting questions answered and sending an action alert,” said Beth Vanderkooi, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of state policy.