Strickland pushing for bypass funds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

State transportation officials may have rebuffed local efforts to keep

money flowing for the Tri-State Metro Outer Belt project, but locals are not yet ready to give up on getting funding for Phase 2.

Sixth District U.S. Congressman Ted Strickland, D-Lucasville, has included $2 million for

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the project, formerly known as the Chesapeake Bypass, in a house version of a federal transportation bill. The $2 million would be used for land acquisition.

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, is on the conference committee that will negotiate changes between the House and Senate versions of the highway bill. Lawrence County Commissioners have written Voinovich, asking him to safeguard the money Strickland included in the House bill and make sure the funding does not get cut from the final transportation document.

"People have been put into hardship because the land has not been purchased," said Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dr. Bill Dingus said in asking the commission to send the letter.

In May, members of the state's Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) announced

that money for Phase 2 was not being included in the Ohio Department of Transportation's budget for 2005-2010. The area's business and government leaders objected to TRAC's decision, but to no avail.