The Ohio House this week completed work on the state transportation budget. The transportation budget allocates monies from the federal government and state gas tax collection toward specific transportation construction projects.
The current gas tax is not producing adequate revenue to maintain, repair and improve Ohio’s roads and bridges. Never a popular thing to do, DeWine urged lawmakers to responsibly update the tax rate. It was most recently increased in 2005.
Currently, 28 cents on every gallon of motor fuel is collected by the state. In his budget proposal, the governor increased the amount by 18 cents or 64%.
In the end, the House passed the transportation budget, HB62 (Oelslager), 71-27 with bi-partisan support. The House amended the bill to bifurcate the tax so a higher rate applies to diesel gasoline. The House plan will gradually phase-in a 10.7 cent increase on gasoline over two years. Diesel will be taxed by an additional 20 cents per gallon or 70% increase with a three-year phase-in. The bill also imposes a new annual fee on hybrid vehicles ($100 per year) and electric vehicles ($200 per year). Finally, the bill appropriates $100 million for public transit.
The governor released a statement in reaction to the House amendments, saying: “The House-passed bill is far from ideal, but I appreciate the strong bipartisan acknowledgement that our state and local jurisdictions have a major revenue shortage to deal with vital transportation needs.”
Next the bill moves to the Senate. Leading senators have taken a dim view of the proposal.