- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Columbus Dispatch, July 4

Chances are the best parts of the day for most Columbus workers are not morning rush hour and evening rush hour. But it could be worse: Commuters here have the shortest drive time of just about any other large metro area in the U.S.

The Dispatch, as part of the “Fractured Framework” national reporting project, found that the longest leg of a Columbus commute typically takes a bit more than 23 minutes. That’s nearly three minutes speedier than the national average …

That drivers here have it relatively easy, even with roadway construction and bad weather, isn’t such good news long-term: It has inhibited the development of better mass transit, which many urban planners see as the inevitable solution to congested roads.

Enjoy it now, because the Downtown gridlock, sluggish freeways and clogged feeder streets are coming. Planners expect another 500,000 people to call central Ohio home by 2050. Unless we prepare now, it could get ugly …

Public transit needs a push and a pull to develop as a solution to ease future roadway congestion. Downtown parking has to become pricier. Roads have to fill up and make driving more aggravating. And COTA has to find ways to move people more quickly and promote the benefits of transit, including improving the environment, saving money and having time to relax.




The (Toledo) Blade, July 6

Charged with nourishing the world’s hungry, the United Nations World Food Program appears to be starving.

The agency, citing financial reasons, says it will cut the amount of food it distributes to 500,000 refugees in Kenya, putting them on a daily diet of 1,500 calories. These Oliver Twist-like rations are not confined to southern Africa …

President Obama’s proposed budget for next year slashes by $66 million the support it gives the U.S. Office of Food for Peace, an aid initiative that partners with the World Food Program. Anti-hunger advocates say the office’s budget should instead be increased from $1.4 billion to $1.75 billion.

The World Food Program can put its dollars to better use. Working in countries with high levels of corruption, its efforts have sometimes fallen prey to scams. In Syria, the agency has mistakenly doled out aid to people who did not qualify.

Still, the Obama Administration should reverse its planned cuts to the Office of Food for Peace, if only out of self-interest. Famine intensifies global conflict, placing greater strain on our Armed Forces.

More than 11 million people became refugees in the past year. This is not the time for Washington to lessen its commitment to international food aid.




The Lima News, July 4

… TRIP, a national research group funded by the transportation industry, figures that bad road conditions typically add $515 a year in operation and maintenance costs for drivers. That is from the beating your vehicle’s suspension system and tires take, the lost gas mileage, and all of those new rattles you hear …

The terrible roads and bridges are also slowing the movement of goods and services for the trucking industry, which passes its losses on to businesses, which in turn jacks up the costs of products to consumers.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

If Congress wants to keep America moving - literally - it will slam its foot down on the gas and pass the transportation bill before the Federal Highway Trust Fund runs out of money on July 31. That will keep road workers on the job for now, but it is just a finger in the dike solution. What needs to happen is addressing the cumulative deficit of $180 billion the Highway Trust Fund faces over the next decade.

States need to be assured of funding so they don’t face the extra expenses of never-ending road projects.

Time truly is money when it comes to road work.




The Akron Beacon Journal, July 2

The way Ohio oversees charter schools has been described as a something out of the “Wild, Wild West.” The state has become a laughing stock, reinforced recently by the closure of four charter schools in this part of the state and the conviction of Dayton charter officials on public corruption charges. How, then, to describe Cliff Rosenberger, the House speaker who sent his chamber home for summer break without taking up a comprehensive repair of charter school oversight that won unanimous approval in the state Senate?

“Misguided” would be a polite word. What Rosenberger should not miss is the impression he has invited. Under the leadership of his predecessor, the House gained the reputation of looking to take care of charter operators, especially the for-profit management firms, known for their willingness to deploy political money in seeking to get their way. Now the new speaker appears to be filling the familiar role.

For all the talk from his office about taking care in examining changes made by the Senate, the impression is closer to Rosenberger and his team weighing the political fallout against sound policy-making …

Charter schools are here to stay, the concept, when executed well, advancing the quality of education. The challenge is setting up a structure that demands solid academic performance. Ohio has an opportunity to do as much. That is, if House Republican leaders are committed to serving schoolchildren and seeing that the state is no longer the butt of jokes.




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