House Bill 62, the state transportation budget, contains a $1.2 billion increase in funding for road and bridge construction projects. Counties would receive an additional $172 million each year. The increase is possible because House Bill 62 raises the state motor fuel fee by 18 cents per gallon, indexed to the rate of consumer inflation starting in 2020. Please contact your legislators to emphasize the importance of transportation infrastructure for economic development, and ask that the House pass the governor’s proposal “As Introduced” without funding reductions. The House Finance Committee will consider a substitute bill on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a House Floor Vote likely to take place on Thursday, March 7.
The CCAO 2019-2020 Legislative Platform supports increased state funding for transportation infrastructure and public transit. In the past two weeks, CCAO President and Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann and Union County Commissioner Steve Stolte gave proponent testimony to the House Finance Committee in support of the increased funding. CCAO is working with other local government groups and private sector partners in the Fix Our Roads Ohio (FOR OHIO) coalition (https://fixourroadsohio.com) to educate legislators on the critical need for additional transportation funding.
CCAO is emphasizing the following information in its discussions with legislators and the media:
- The state motor fuel fee has not been raised since 2003-2005, when it increased from 22 cents per gallon to 28 cents. Construction price inflation has eroded the effective purchasing power of this funding to 18 cents since that time.
- The Ohio Constitution requires that revenue from motor fuel excise fees can only be used for construction, maintenance and administration of state and local highways, roads and bridges. Money cannot be diverted to other projects or programs
- Counties are responsible for the maintenance and repair of approximately 29,000 lane miles and 26,000 bridges. The County Engineers Association has identified $600 million in annual unmet needs, including 1,854 bridges that are eligible for replacement and 6,221 eligible for repair.
- Ohio’s existing motor fuel fee of 28 cents per gallon is below that of Pennsylvania (58.7 cents), Michigan (44.1 cents), Indiana (42.9 cents), and West Virginia (35.7 cents).
- Ohio has the second-highest inventory of bridges in nation and the sixth-highest number of vehicle miles traveled (118 billion miles annually).
- According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), 26 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation to increase or significantly restructure their motor fuel taxes since 2013.
- Ohio motorists incur $3.5 billion in additional costs each year because of the poor conditions of Ohio’s roads. These additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional vehicle repair costs, increased fuel consumption and increased tire wear. (Ohio TRIP Report, June 2018).
- CCAO supports increased fees for electric, alternative fuel and hybrid vehicle to make sure that all types of vehicles are contributing to the upkeep of Ohio’s roads.
Please contact your House members in the next 48 hours to discuss the critical needs of transportation infrastructure in your county and the importance of maintaining the funding levels proposed by the governor.
If you have questions about House Bill 62, please contact Senior Policy Analyst Jon Honeck, (614) 220-7982, or email at email@example.com.