The recent announcement by Intel in central Ohio left many businesses across Ohio, including Toledo, wondering how they can be part of that success. We understand that opportunities to participate in this recent success will be hampered because Toledo and the region is outside of the two-hour radius that is preferred for suppliers. Intel is just the latest opportunity; there are likely more to come and others that previously existed. All of Ohio should have the opportunity to be part of this investment and success.
The continued degradation of the free flow of traffic through Delaware County in recent years has significantly contributed to the problem. Toledo is the only metro city in Ohio that must go through a stop light in order to reach Columbus. In fact, it’s nearly 40 stoplights through Delaware County to I-270, the loop around Columbus. Everything north of Delaware County is free-flowing to Toledo, and continues to be improved.
As bad as the congestion is today, it will only get worse. Research by MORPC projects that over the next 20 years, central Ohio is expected to grow by more than a million households and a million jobs. Options to address the problem will become more limited because of this growth. Especially when considering Delaware County is one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio, if not the country.
The anticipated extension of the I-73/I-74/I-75 corridor into Ohio will further enhance the connection of Toledo to markets in the southeastern United States. Increased access means increased traffic and congestion. Better access to these markets can help create additional opportunities for the manufacturing and logistics industry in northwest Ohio. Route 23 is a key component of the concept of the corridor through Ohio.
The planned opening of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in 2024 connecting Canada and the United States will also increase the flow of traffic through this corridor. There are more than 300 Canadian-owned companies in Ohio and Ohio exports more to Canada than the next eight locations combined.
ODOT must continue to seek a long-term solution, most likely a bypass around Delaware, and address the degradation along the existing Route 23 corridor through Delaware County. We understand that a fix will not be inexpensive, but the cost of doing nothing cannot be measured. The Chamber and the northwest Ohio business community deserve better and urge ODOT to reconsider its decision to end the study without a long-term solution identified. We look forward to working with ODOT, Governor DeWine and legislative leaders to reaching a solution in which all parties can benefit.
For questions or for more information, please contact Vice President of Advocacy and Strategic Initiatives Brian Dicken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, serving a membership of over 2,000 businesses, solves critical business challenges in order to create vibrant economic opportunities for all in our region.