Gas tax could go up 18 cents


Revenue would fill pothole in road budget

By LISA CORNWELL - Associated Press



Maintenance on roads and bridges, like this recently-improved bridge on U.S. Route 36 near Zimmerman Road in western Champaign County, would benefit from increased state gasoline taxes.

Maintenance on roads and bridges, like this recently-improved bridge on U.S. Route 36 near Zimmerman Road in western Champaign County, would benefit from increased state gasoline taxes.


Steve Stout | Urbana Daily Citizen

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration on Thursday recommended increasing the state gas tax by 18 cents a gallon beginning July 1 and annually adjusting that tax for inflation to provide sufficient funding for maintenance of roads and bridges.

Ohio’s Department of Transportation director, Jack Marchbanks, introduced the governor’s $7.43 billion transportation budget proposal to the House Finance Committee. The gas tax included in the two-year budget would be adjusted annually with the consumer price index to ensure sufficient funding going forward, Marchbanks said.

He said revenue raised the first year, by increasing the current 28-cent tax to 46 cents, equates to roughly $1.2 billion and will be split between the department and local governments.

Marchbanks told legislators that without more revenue in the face of the “impending transportation crisis,” there will be no funds for any highway improvement projects in the state and roads will deteriorate. Statistics show that deteriorating road conditions lead to more crashes, which lead to more fatalities, he said.

“Governor DeWine understands that maintaining the integrity of our roads and bridges is not only important to our economy; it is important to the health and welfare of our citizens,” Marchbanks said.

If the Legislature approves the recommendations, the proposal would provide the department in fiscal year 2020 with $750 million additional dollars in revenue to pave roads, fix guardrails, fill potholes, clear snow and ice, maintain bridges, and improve safety, Marchbanks told the committee. He said it also will provide local governments with a significant increase in the funding, including $1.6 million for every county in the state.

Marchbanks has previously said that contracts for road maintenance that totaled $2.4 billion in 2014 may drop to $1.5 billion in 2020, and a $1 billion gap remains in the department budget.

A transportation crisis is looming despite “all of ODOT’s multi-million dollar cost-saving efforts to make our agency leaner and more efficient,” he told committee members Thursday.

The department realizes that asking Ohioans to pay higher fees for roadway use is “no small task,” but hopes that most will understand the importance of responsible and sufficient transportation funding, the director said.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Tom Balzer, president of the Ohio Trucking Association, and Grace Gallucci, president of the Ohio Association of Regional Councils, commented on a potential tax increase in testimony to legislators this week.

Balzer said that the state and local governments have immediate transportation needs, and the gas tax raises immediate revenue.

Gallucci pointed out that while questions remain about whether the gas tax is the fairest way to assess users of Ohio roads, it is a way to get needed money right away.

County Commissioners Association of Ohio supports fuel tax increase

According to a statement released Thursday afternoon, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) supports the Ohio Department of Transportation’s budget plan that would increase the motor fuel tax by 18 cents per gallon, with future increases indexed to consumer price inflation. “This action will help restore a strong partnership between the state and local governments in addressing the state’s infrastructure needs. County governments are responsible for the maintenance and repair of over 26,000 bridges and 29,000 county road miles,” the statement read.

“We are grateful for Governor DeWine’s strong leadership on this issue,” CCAO President Julie Ehemann said. “This proposal will help counties address critical needs in our transportation system, including over 1,800 bridges that are eligible for immediate replacement and another 6,000 that are eligible for repair.

“It is clear that Ohio must improve and expand its transportation infrastructure to meet the economic challenges of the 21st century, and Ohio’s counties are committed to partnering with the state to make this happen,” she added.

The state’s motor fuel tax has not increased since 2005. Given expected changes in automotive technology, CCAO also supports including electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles in any potential fee increases.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.

Maintenance on roads and bridges, like this recently-improved bridge on U.S. Route 36 near Zimmerman Road in western Champaign County, would benefit from increased state gasoline taxes.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2019/02/web1_bridge.jpgMaintenance on roads and bridges, like this recently-improved bridge on U.S. Route 36 near Zimmerman Road in western Champaign County, would benefit from increased state gasoline taxes. Steve Stout | Urbana Daily Citizen
Revenue would fill pothole in road budget

By LISA CORNWELL

Associated Press