The Ohio Senate has approved changes to the transportation budget, taking the originally-proposed gas tax hike from 18-cents a gallon to 6-cents a gallon.
The Senate’s version of the transportation budget continued what the House started, by chipping away at Gov. Mike DeWine's proposed 18-cent gas tax increase. The House put the increase at 10.7 cents over the next two years, while the Senate landed on 6 cents.
DeWine says his proposal would have brought in $1.2 billion in revenue. He says the state needs generate about $1 billion a year in extra funding over the course of the next ten years to keep up with infrastructure costs.
But Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) says the 6-cent hike would adequately fund the state’s most important needs.
“We’ve spent an awful lot of money on new construction over the past 8 years and many would argue that that system is built out to the point that it should be right now,” says McColley, the transportation committee chair, who ended up voting against the plan because he wanted some type of tax cut to offset the increase.
The transportation budget also cut the public transit funding from $100 million to $55 million.
The bill now goes back to the Ohio House where it will likely not receive enough votes for concurrence. It would then go into conference committee where both chambers will have to reach an agreement. DeWine must sign the transportation budget by March 31.
Updated: 1:30pm Friday, March 22, 2019