In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (“Department”) is a state agency responsible for developing and maintaining all state and federal roadways in the state of Ohio with exception of the Ohio Turnpike. In addition to highways, the department also helps develop public transportation and public aviation programs. The Department is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio and is part of the executive branch of the Ohio state government. The Department may issue and amend orders, and make, promulgate, and amend, reasonable general and special rules and procedure, and establish minimum standards.
Pursuant to ORC Ann. 4561.05, the Department may establish safety rules governing air navigation hazards, and the location, size, use, and equipment of airports and landing areas, and rules governing air marking, the use of signs or lights designed to be visible from the air, and other air navigation facilities.
The following are some of the duties of the Department:
- Encouraging the development of aviation and the promotion of aviation education within this state as, in its judgment, may best serve the public interest;
- Furnishing engineering or other technical counsel and services, with or without charge therefor, to any appropriate agency of any county or municipal corporation of the state desiring such counsel or services in connection with any question or problem concerning the need for, or the location, construction, maintenance, or operation of airports, landing fields, or other air navigation facilities in the county or municipal corporation.
The Department acts as the official representative of this state in all civil actions, matters, or proceedings pertaining to aviation in which this state is a party or has an interest. The Department may investigate, and may cooperate with any other appropriate governmental agency in the investigation of, any accident occurring in this state in connection with aviation. It may issue an order to preserve, protect, or prevent the removal of any aircraft or air navigation facility involved in an accident being so investigated until the investigation is completed.
The Department, in connection with any investigation it is authorized to conduct, or in connection with any matter it is required to consider and determine, may conduct hearings thereon. All such hearings are open to the public. The administrator of the office of aviation or those employees of that office or its agents who are designated to conduct such hearings may administer oaths and affirmations and issue subpoenas for and compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of papers, books, and documents at the hearings[i].
The Department also reports to the appropriate agency of the U.S. all cases that come to its attention of persons navigating aircraft without a valid aviator’s certificate, or in which an aircraft is navigated without a valid air-worthiness certificate in probable violation of the laws of the U.S. requiring such certificates.
In addition, the Department may prepare, adopt, and subsequently revise a plan showing the locations and types of airports, landing fields, and other air navigation facilities within this state. It also may prepare another plan of a system of airways within this state, the establishment, maintenance, and use of which will, in its judgment, serve the development of transportation by aircraft within this state in the best interests of the public. It may publish plans and pertinent information as the public interest requires[ii].
The Department periodically may prepare, publish, and distribute such maps, charts, or other information as the public interest requires, showing the location of and containing a description of all airports, landing fields, and other air navigation facilities then in operation in this state, together with information concerning the manner in which, and the terms upon which, those facilities may be used, and showing all airways then in use, or recommended for use, within this state, together with information concerning the manner in which the facilities should be used[iii].
The Department currently operates the seventh largest highway system in the U.S. and it is the sixth largest interstate system measured by total lane-miles. These highways support the fifth greatest traffic volume by total vehicle miles, the third greatest value of commercial freight, and contain the second largest inventory of bridges in the nation as well. The Department also maintains approximately 49,000 lane miles of highway system statewide.
[i] ORC Ann. 4561.06.