(Posted April 16, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Engineer’s Office and Madison County Chamber of Commerce are spearheading a group approach to lassoing money for road projects.
The idea is to create a transportation improvement district (TID), as allowed for in the Ohio Revised Code. Members of TIDs can be public or private entities. The purpose is to pool financial resources and work together to seek out other funding, such as grants. Additionally, TIDs can issue bonds using the county bond rating.
County Engineer Bryan Dhume said most of the money he receives from the state for road projects depends on crash data, which puts his office in a reactive mode when it comes to making improvements. A TID could help him and other entities around the county work together to be more proactive about road projects.
“It’s a good way to prioritize projects county-wide,” he said.
David Kell, executive director of the Chamber, sees TIDs as a way to foster development.
“There are opportunities for growth in all parts of the county, and we need good infrastructure to support it,” Kell said. “I think this could be a great tool for us as we continue to grow.”
Dhume cited improvements at the intersection of Converse Huff and Plain City-Georgesville Road as a project that could benefit from TID involvement. Situated just southeast of Plain City, the area is ripe for development and will need road capacity upgrades, he said. The county and the village could work together financially to make those upgrades happen, he said.
Other examples Dhume shared included putting together an aggressive bridge repair program using bonds, as Licking County’s TID has done, or helping small villages, like Midway and South Solon, apply for funding for drainage projects.
“There really aren’t any down sides to (a TID), and we can do as much or as little with it as we want,” he said.
TIDs are considered to be political subdivisions. They are governed by a board of trustees appointed by the county commissioners. At a meeting with the county commissioners on April 9, Dhume suggested that Madison County’s five-member board include representatives from the engineer’s office, business community, and county, city and township government.
The commissioners support the TID.
“Combining funds wherever the sources are is how we’re going to succeed,” said Commissioner David Dhume.
He recommended that the engineer and Kell consult with the county prosecutor on the proper procedures for setting up a TID, then come back to the commissioners with a formal resolution.
The first step to forming the TID will be to appoint the board of trustees.