ODOT: $40 million in taxes could be better spent

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With spring in full force, the snow has cleared around Ohio, revealing many roadways lined with litter.

Aside from being an eyesore, it’s also an expense to taxpayers.

Litter pickup costs the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) about $4 million each year, including the cost for guards who monitor inmates and supplies for inmates, as well as Adopt-A-Highway volunteers.

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“Our crews would rather be doing more useful work and we would certainly rather spend this money on more useful things than litter,” said Matt Bruning, ODOT press secretary.

According to Bruning, 3.8 million bags of trash have been collected from along Ohio roadways, including 2.7 million by ODOT crews, over the past decade. There were 396,193 bags collected statewide last year.

Ahead of Earth Week, ODOT District 5 took action through a districtwide clean-up.

Many may not know that ODOT crews in District 5 alone pick up nearly 10,000 bags of trash each year on state, U.S. and interstate highways in Coshocton, Fairfield, Guernsey, Knox, Licking, Muskingum and Perry counties.

The cost to taxpayers for their cleanup? $4 million each year.

The job is made easier thanks to aid from the more than 1,400 Adopt-A-Highway groups.

Those Adopt-A-Highway groups clean a two-mile section or interchange, a minimum of four times a year for two years.

On average, the Adopt-A-Highway volunteers pick up 25,000 bags of trash, saving ODOT $280,000.

Groups interested in applying to adopt a section of the highway or an interchange can by clicking here.

ODOT asks that drivers remember to slow down and move over for all roadside workers.

ODOT crews have spent more than 1.5 million hours (or 176.4 years) picking up litter over the past decade. This includes 157,790 hours last year alone.