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Ohio Lawmakers Boost Funding For Public Transit In Final Transportation Budget

A COTA bus in downtown Columbus in May 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock
A COTA bus in downtown Columbus in May 2020.

With the March 31 deadline looming, lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate passed the $8 billion transportation budget.

Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) said it spends $5.4 billion on construction and maintenance for highways and bridges – and boosts public transit, which was cut 90% in Gov. Mike DeWine’s original proposal.

“The Senate has further increased funding for public transit with an additional $13.85 million in GRF funding per year. This brings the total investment to over $70 million per year," Kunze said in a brief presentation of the budget on the Senate floor, after a recess of several hours while Senators discussed the changes to the House bill.

The Senate’s changes also include allowing an eight-year driver’s license and creating an electric vehicle charging station grant program with money from the national Volkswagen settlement.

But increased penalties for distracted driving in DeWine’s initial proposal were not restored.

The House is expected to approve the changes without forcing the budget to go to a conference committee.