Beavercreek City Council and Beavercreek Twp. want Greene County to pay a bigger share of the required local funding for the $15.8 million U.S. Route 35 superstreet project.
The city, county and township would have to pitch in about $>.5 million total to cover the local share of the transportation project, which aims to improve safety by reducing crashes and traffic congestion.
“Beavercreek is the money horse that provides money for the county as far as sales tax,” said Beavercreek City Councilwoman Debborah Wallace said during a joint city and township meeting Monday night.
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Greene County sales tax revenues between January and June totaled $13.3 million, a 6 percent increase over the $12.6 million reported in 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
“The county benefits tremendously from the sales tax, a huge portion of which comes from Beavercreek and Beavercreek township,” said Carol Graff, a township trustee.
County officials have suggested the local funding could be evenly divided among the three local governments, according to Beavercreek documents. The county is willing to pay the local share up up front, but the city and township would have to reimburse the county.
An estimated 38,000 drivers travel Route 35 daily, according to ODOT. Over a four-year period starting in 2011, about 91 crashes were reported in the Route 35 and Orchard Lane area.
“We just really have to look at the whole thing,” said Greene County Commissioner Tom Koogler. “Everybody is going to benefit from it. I still have concerns with the superstreet because they’re not talking about putting any pre-alert lights in.”
Installing lights that would let drivers know the traffic signal was going to turn red ahead of time might solve many problems on that stretch of highway, Koogler said.
The superstreet offers a temporary fix for traffic congestion and crashes until adequate funding can be acquired for a permanent solution, one that could cost up to $120 million.
Superstreets restrict traffic on secondary roads from making a left turn to access the main highway. Drivers have to make a right turn, then a U-turn. The highway design alternative reduces the amount of time it takes to get through intersections and side streets and speeds up traffic, according to transportation experts.
“This road is in Greene County,” Beavercreek’s Wallace said. “It’s in the township and the city. I think Greene County needs to start looking at the roads and seeing how they can help us out.”
If the local governments evenly divide the local match, the city could either attempt to secure grants or include the $500,000 needed in the 2018 budget, Jeff Moorman, the city engineer, told city and township officials.
“In the past we’ve used Ohio Public Works Commission funding, and that’s what we’d have to do because there’s already a lot of federal money dedicated to this project,” he said. “You can’t use federal money to match federal money, so it would have to be a different source, like state money or local.”
Discussions about how the city, county and township will split the local match will be meaningless if the Transportation Review Advisory Council, a nine-member committee under the Ohio Department of Transportation charged with assisting with selecting which transportation projects get money, doesn’t provide the remaining funding needed for the superstreet.
In July, ODOT confirmed $5 million was awarded to the project. The same month, ODOT District 8 filed an application with the TRAC to request another $5 million.
“It’s a regional-wide benefit,” said Beavercreek Twp. Trustee Tom Kretz. “It was promoted early on as all of Greene County, not just Beavercreek or Beavercreek Twp., would benefit from this. We had a lot of voices at the table, but we only have three wallets now to pull from.”
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