Steve LaTouretteBainbridge Township GOP Rep. Steve LaTourette wants Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to reconsider his decision to revoke federal funds for an Ohio Turnpike privatization study.

Ten of Ohio’s GOP Congress members want U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to reconsider his department’s decision last week to revoke $1.5 million in federal funds that Ohio was using to study privatizing the Ohio Turnpike.

The federal decision came shortly after Ohio’s Democratic members of Congress wrote LaHood a letter that complained the study was an inappropriate use of tax dollars.

A letter sent to LaHood yesterday by Steve LaTourette of Bainbridge Township and nine other GOP congress members categorized last week’s funding reversal as “remarkable” since the Ohio Department of Transportation got federal approval to use the money on Sept. 2.

When the turnabout was announced on Oct. 7, ODOT Director Jerry Wray described it as politically motivated – a charge the federal transportation department denied.

“We do not agree with the assessment outlined in a recent letter by other members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation that ODOT’s use of these funds is unjustified and that a particular policy with respect to the Ohio Turnpike has already been decided,” the letter said.

The GOP letter said ODOT would use the State Planning and Research money to hire an independent third party to fully investigate all the options as the state “pursues leveraging the Turnpike in a way that benefits all Ohio tapayers.”

“Research carried out under the SPR program may indicate that a private, contracutal maintenance agreement would be in the best interest for the Ohio Turnpike or that the operations, maintenance, revenue collection and other aspects of the Ohio Turnpike would be better managed under ODOT,” the letter said. “The federal SPR program was created to provide states with the necessary resources to assist with this type

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