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House Dems Propose Massive Increase To Public Transit Investment

COTA bus driving through downtown Columbus.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
COTA bus driving through downtown Columbus.

Democratic representatives in the Ohio House want to go from investing about $6 million into public transportation to $150 million, as the state transportation department tries to figure out how to plug a $1 billion hole in the road construction and repair budget.

House Democrats say the 25-fold increase in public money into systems like buses and railways can help bring user pass prices down, expand transit routes, and help improve systems.

Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) says this kind of investment can actually help the Ohio Department of Transportation in its budget shortfall.

“When you remove the motor vehicles from the roadways and having more people taking public transit there’s less wear and tear on those roadways,” says Skindell.

Gov. Mike DeWine plans to propose an increase to the gas tax to fill the construction budget shortfall, and ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks has said that could allow some federal funds to go to mass transit.

Other groups have urged that the state's gas tax is strictly tied by the Ohio Constitution to road projects.

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