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Ohio Senate Approves Final Version of New Two-Year Transportation Budget

Improves Rail Safety and Keeps Paving Projects Rolling
March 29, 2023
Andrew O. Brenner News

COLUMBUS—State Senator Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) is pleased the final version of the state’s new two-year Transportation Budget approved by the Senate today includes crucial improvements to rail safety and a provision to help local governments complete road maintenance and repair projects.

Key rail safety changes in the $13.5 billion budget include:

  • Requiring wayside detectors to be installed between 10-15 miles apart.
  • Requiring ODOT and PUCO to oversee proper installation.
  • Tasking the PUCO to examine best practices for hot boxes, hot bearing detectors, acoustic bearing detectors, and cameras installed on or near railroad tracks. 

“These real-time warning systems will help reduce the risk of another catastrophic derailment,” said Brenner, who is a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “There is no excuse for lax safety measures, as trains commonly rumble through intersections and neighborhoods across Ohio.”

The bill also increases force account limits, for the first time in nearly 20 years, to help local governments across the state complete road maintenance and repair projects.  “Some of these projects are more than an eyesore, they’re an inconvenience and at times dangerous,” said Senate President Matt Huffman. “People will see the difference.”

The budget also addresses the critical need for funding to repair road slips in rural Ohio. $10 million dollars is funded through the public works commission for emergency slip repair. Overall, the $120 million in grants will fund local road projects over the next two years, helping local governments improve the roads across Ohio.

The Transportation Budget is funded by the state’s Motor Fuel Tax (MFT), more commonly called the gas tax. Read the bill here.