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Government/Politics

Group Says No Money For Road Projects Means Gas Tax Hike Could Be Possible

The transportation budget, which is usually introduced in February, funds major road construction projects. It needs to be passed by the end of March.
Karen Kasler
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The transportation budget, which is usually introduced in February, funds major road construction projects. It needs to be passed by the end of March.

A coalition of business leaders and local elected officials say there’s no money for big road construction projects in the transportation budget that will come out next month, so lawmakers have to at least consider the possibility of raising the gas tax.

Spokesman Curt Steiner said the group Fix Our Roads Ohio is worried about a projection that ODOT will have $700 million less in the upcoming transportation budget than it did when a record in construction spending was set in 2014 – because revenues from a temporary fix in refinancing of the Ohio Turnpike are running out.

“This was prepared before the DeWine/Husted administration was taking office – the current plan that is under consideration just has practically no new money in it for new construction," Steiner said.

Steiner says the coalition has come up with some options, such as an annual fee on electric vehicles, a dedicated funding source for public transit, and a hike in the gas tax. Ohio’s total state taxes and fees are a little over 28 cents a gallon – lower than every other surrounding state but Kentucky.