TOLEDO - (13abc, Action News) - The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government's (TMACOG) willingness to kick-in $4 million toward getting the interchange and 475 widening projects done makes this an important issue.
At one point, Toledo was willing to make a $1.5 million financial commitment.
But the mayor then backed out because tax dollars are limited. She told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "That's correct, because the top priority that residents told me was we want our residential streets fixed."
But the interchange could also spur economic growth and generate tax revenue. However, the mayor believes with TMACOG involved, Toledo tax dollars are not as vital to building that interchange.
"We have offered a letter in support and that support is what we can offer at this time."
But letters do not fund construction projects and Lucas County and Springfield Township-- which agreed to split the local cost for the interchange-- cannot afford to do it without money from Toledo.
Democrat Wade Kapszukiewicz insists, "My administration would commit resources to that project."
He says Toledo should seriously look at putting up some money...
But only if the University of Toledo, which also backed out for financial reasons, gets back in.
Kapzsukiewicz says "We had that partnership a couple years ago and it fell apart. We can rebuild it, we can do it. But my first obligation is to protect the interests of the citizens of Toledo."
Kapszukiewicz believes a strong mayor can convince UT to get involved but, without that, the price tag may be too rich for Toledo.
But Republican Tom Waniewski says, "Somebody's gotta be the lead on this."
Waniewski believes, TMACOG's likely $4 million shows this project has great upside and Toledo cannot be shortsighted and let this opportunity slip away.
Waniewski says, "It's going to mean jobs for our area folks. It's going to be an investment in land for our area folks. So when I look at that broader picture, I keep coming back to, not a bad idea worth pursuing."