In Ohio, 'shovel-ready' means 'pencil ready'

When President Obama referred to shovel-ready projects to be funded by the latest stimulus plan, I thought he meant it literally -- pushing dirt, pouring concrete, laying pipe.

Apparently the Ohio Department of Transportation sees it differently, as it plans to use $57 million to do studies of projects that won't be ready to break ground for years. In the process, the department has turned down other construction projects that were ready to go.

Critics are already complaining that Ohio's 3-Cs (Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus) are receiving a lion's share of these funds, so guess where the projects to be planned are? A highway/rail line in east Cincinnati. A connector to link the interstate to Cleveland's art and museum district. Both carry $20 million price tags.