Ohio Senate slashes gas tax increase, public transit funding

Ohio Statehouse News

COLUMBUS (WDTN) – The bill headed to the Senate floor Thursday evening contains a 6-cent gas tax increase on both gasoline and diesel. This is down from the 10.7-cent increase the House placed on gasoline and a 20-cent for diesel fuel.

It also cuts the $100 million the House put into the bill to fund public transit, taking the funding down to $40 million.

The final vote was 6-5 with Chairman of the Senate Transportation, Workforce, and Commerce Committee State Senator Rob McColley voting against the final bill.

“In my view any tax increases deserve an offsetting tax cut, and I’ve publicly made that statement up in my district and I would say that my district whole heartedly agrees with that and so respectfully to the members of my chamber, and I respect their conclusion here, but I need to do what I promised to the constituents of my district,” said McColley.

He was joined by fellow Republican State Senator Michael Rulli from northeastern Ohio and the Democrat delegation on the committee; State Senators Nickie Antonio, Tina Maharath, and Vernon Sykes.

The bill which has been worked on for nearly two weeks, has gone through a number of changes since the House version was introduced.

Notably absent from the final bill were several provisions added by the House, including the removal of the requirement for a front license plate as well as regulation on electric scooters and traffic cameras.

It is inevitable that a transportation budget bill will pass through the Senate, but it will then need to go back to the House for a concurrence vote.

It is unlikely the House will accept the changes the Senate made, and a conference committee will most likely need to be formed to hash out the details of a final bill both sides can agree to.

That means the gas tax increase and the funding for public transit could change again before it is all said and done.

That will have to be soon, the bill needs to get to the Governor for his signature before the end of the month.

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