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Gas Tax Hike Returns ODOT To Solid Financial Ground

gas pump
David Zalubowski
Associated Press

Ohio’s 10.5 cent gas tax increase from the state’s transportation budget has been in place for four months as of November 1.

The director of the Ohio Department of Transportation Jack Marchbanks said the money his agency fought lawmakers to get is already making a difference. Lawmakers had opposed the increase for weeks, leading to a delay in passing the transportation budget.

Marchbanks said ODOT is on solid financial ground for the first time in years. The gas tax hike will bring in $820 million this fiscal year, and $3.2 billion over the next four years. ODOT gets 55% of gas tax revenue while the rest goes to local governments.

However Marchbanks said the agency didn’t overshoot in asking for nearly twice that when it first proposed the gas tax increase.

“When we asked for 18 cents early on, that was for a 10-year horizon. So we have great comfort in the fact that we will be able to take care of the system for the next four to five years," Marchbanks said.

Marchbanks said the funds from the tax increase are helping to deal with 150 intersections and other areas identified as safety problems. Construction is already underway to fix more than 90 of them. DeWine has said that once those are fixed, he has another list of potential areas he wants to be examined.