‘The credit cards are maxed out’: ODOT director makes case for 18 cent gas tax hike

Ohio
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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Thursday, the Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks introduced the 7.43 billion transportation budget, appearing before the Ohio House Finance Committee. 

The ODOT recommended budget would fund operations for the department for the next two years and includes a proposed 18 cent increase to the fuel tax that would fund road and bridge maintenance throughout the state.

“As you may recall, due to flat revenues, highway construction inflation, and mounting debt payments,
ODOT is in jeopardy of being unable to fulfill its mission. The credit cards are maxed out and the longterm health of Ohio’s transportation system is now at stake,” Marchbanks said.

According to a release from ODOT, the revenue in the first year would equal approximately 1.2 billion and be split roughly 60-40 between ODOT and local governments. The funds would be restricted for purposes related to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of public highways and bridges.

For fiscal year 2020, ODOT says the proposed budget and tax increase would provide them with $750 million in additional revenue to be used for paving roads, fixing guardrails, filling potholes, clearing snow and ice, maintaining bridges and improving safety.

The budget proposal would raise the fuel tax by 18 cents beginning July 1.

“Given that our current state motor vehicle fuel tax is $0.28, we understand an additional $0.18 increase will sound high, but let me put that into perspective for you. If you drive 13,000 miles per year (roughly the U.S. average) in a 2015 Ford F-150 pickup with four-wheel drive and a V8 engine, your fuel bill would increase $2.65 per week. If you drive 13,000 miles per year in a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, you would pay an additional $1.91 per week. If you drive a 2015 Honda Accord, you would pay just $1.61 per week, less than the price of a cup of coffee,” Marchbanks explained.

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