COLUMBUS - The Ohio Senate this week passed a two-year transportation budget investing in the safety, maintenance and improvement of Ohio’s roads and bridges. The bill received bipartisan support, with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats supporting the proposal.
"I am proud that this legislative body was able to work through a tough issue and come out with a bill that will fill the need for our infrastructure, while also remaining accountable to the taxpayers," said Eklund. "Importantly, about 44 percent of this new revenue will flow to local governments to address their local infrastructure needs. Additionally, we included measures which will improve transparency and accountability, which will be an important next step as we continue to work on these issues in the future."
For the first time in over a decade, that need included a raise in the motor fuel tax by 10.5-cents per gallon for gasoline and 19-cents per gallon for diesel. The bill also aims to provide tax relief to low income Ohioans by increasing the state earned income tax credit while removing the cap.
To ensure there is thorough analysis and spending decisions continue to be measured, the bill also creates the Ohio's Road to Our Future Joint Legislative Study Committee, to consist of five members of the Senate and five members of the House of Representatives. The committee is required to review:
- alternative sources of revenue;
- expense mitigation;
- evolving technology;
- innovative finance techniques;
- asset leverage and conditions; and
- employee demographics.
“This is all important to assuring, as we will, that the Administration purposefully pursues those areas of infrastructure concerns that they identified as requiring more of the people's money,” added Eklund.
Other provisions of the bill included removing the requirement for a front license plate (beginning in July 2020) and increasing funding for public transit to $70 million per year.
The funding in Amended Substitute House Bill 62
allows the Ohio Department of Transportation to continue its work maintaining and improving Ohio’s roads and bridges. In addition to funding Ohio's infrastructure, the bill adds new accountability and transparency measures on how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Yesterday, the bill was signed by Governor DeWine without any line item vetoes.