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Ohio House Passes Transportation Budget With Smaller Gas Tax Hike

highway in Columbus
Gabe Rosenberg

There are some big changes in the transportation budget passed by the House compared to the proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine, who has said an 18 cent gas tax hike is needed to maintain and repair Ohio’s roads.

The House version of the transportation budget dropped the tax hike to 10.7 cents, increased the tax on diesel slightly to 20 cents, and erased the index to inflation. Lawmakers, however, changed their plan to a two-year phase-in instead of three years.

House Speaker Larry Householder said the DeWine administration, which said the House plan is inadequate, requested that change.

“It actually mattered whether it was phased in over three years or whether it was phased in over two years. Even the number itself – 7 cents in lieu of 5 cents – made a difference," Householder says.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said a three-year phase in would leave the agency with a shortfall of tens of millions of dollars in the first year of the budget.

The bill provides public transit with $100 million a year in federal transportation funds, up from the $40 million proposed by DeWine. It also eliminates the requirement for vehicles to have a front license plate.

The transportation budget now goes to the Senate, and must be signed by March 31.