This week, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced a first of its kind public-private partnership with oil and natural gas company EdgeMarc Energy. According to the agency press release, EdgeMarc Energy and ODOT teamed up to provide a much-needed replacement of an outdated railroad bridge. EdgeMarc will fund the $180,000 project, while ODOT construction engineers and team will oversee the project completion, improving the safety of the state route road.
ODOT and EdgeMarc Energy both provided statements regarding this public-private partnership, with ODOT District 10 Deputy Director T. Steve Williams stating, “This is truly a win-win for the community, the state and private industry.” Callum Streeter, Drilling and Competitions Director for EdgeMarc, echoed ODOT, stating:
“EdgeMarc Energy is proud to join ODOT today in announcing the State Route 821 Whipple railroad bridge project. Social responsibility and safety are integral to our core values, and this public-private partnership is just one example of our commitment to being good neighbors with the Washington County community.”
The project, which is slated to begin this summer, is also a reminder of the millions of dollars spent by the oil and gas industry to repair and strengthen roads and bridges through Ohio’s Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) program. The RUMA program was written into state law in Senate Bill 315, and provides agreements between a producer and a local government entity to cover road repairs, upgrades and bonding. The agreement also stipulates designated travel routes for heavy equipment to ensure safety and minimize impacts. These agreements have improved road safety and brought in millions to county coffers — a welcomed savings to local governments.
The partnership announced today by ODOT is another strong indicator of how the industry is stepping up to support and protect the areas they live and work in. In fact, since Utica Shale development began in 2011, Chesapeake, CONSOL, REX Energy, EdgeMarc and PDC Energy have all made it a priority to give back to the communities in which they operate. These philanthropic and public-private partnerships, like the one announced this week between ODOT and EdgeMarc, show how these companies are having a positive impact on Ohio, and will for many years to come.