COLUMBUS—The Ohio Senate passed legislation Wednesday investing $7.8 billion to fund the construction and maintenance of the state’s transportation system. The bill also enhances safety, promotes commerce and puts tens of thousands of Ohioans to work, according to Senate leaders.
“This transportation budget makes a continued investment in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure while reducing unneeded state government regulation,” said State Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House). “I am confident that House Bill 26 will improve the roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economic and job growth.”
Passed by the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support, House Bill 26 provides funding for the Ohio Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, Public Works Commission and Development Services Agency.
“This bill makes critical investments in infrastructure, improving roads and bridges throughout the state of Ohio,” said Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina). “The bill also makes improvements in government efficiency and includes key changes to make Ohio a more attractive place to do business.”
Among the bill’s provisions included in the Senate-passed version:
– Additional Funding to Local Governments: Allocates an additional $48 million in funding over the biennium from the existing motor fuel tax revenue to counties and municipalities for the improvement of local roads and bridges. This is above the $124 million proposed by the Administration.
– Maintaining Ohio’s Bridges: Reauthorizes the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program which is a construction initiative designed to provide resources for county bridge projects.
– Bringing Business Back to Ohio: Reduces the registration fee for high-volume, commercial vehicle fleets, encouraging this business to stay in Ohio, resulting in more job opportunities and economic development in Ohio’s trucking and commercial vehicle industry. It also modernizes and streamlines the current registration process.
– Enhanced Consumer Protections: Requires any entity other than the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to use a prominent disclaimer about fees charged for services that are already provided by authorized local registrars.
– Increasing Efficiency: Allows townships and municipal corporations to enter into agreements to share services as it relates to maintenance, repair and the improvement of their roads by creating joint road districts.
– More Funding for Public Transit: At least $33 million per year will be invested in public transit options across the state. The bill also directs an additional $15 million from an existing emissions settlement towards public transit vehicles powered by clean energy.
House Bill 26 now proceeds to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
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