Commissioners praise DeWine for transportation budget

By Martin Graham -

COLUMBUS – The County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) recently released a statement commending and thanking Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly for voting to invest in Ohio’s infrastructure.

This week, the Ohio General Assembly adopted House Bill 62, the state transportation budget. It includes a gas tax increase of 10.5 cents per gallon and a diesel fuel tax increase of 19 cents per gallon. The increase will be effective July 1, 2019. New revenue will be distributed 55 percent to the state and 45 percent to local governments, according to officials.

CNG vehicles will pay the same rate as diesel, subject to a five-year phase-in. The conference report includes a new $100 fee on hybrid vehicles and $200 for electric vehicles.

Locally, Fayette County Commissioner Dan Dean — who serves on several boards within the CCAO — also commended DeWine on Wednesday for his leadership.

“The County Commissioners Association was pushing very hard and we were lobbying with our state senator and state representative here locally,” Dean said “All the commissioners worked with their local representation. The money coming back to the county will certainly help (Fayette County) engineer Steve Luebbe to continue to improve the infrastructure within the county.”

Dean said the commissioners haven’t talked with Luebbe about what the plans would be with the money coming back to the county, but he said, “Without putting words in Steve’s mouth,” that he would expect to see less chip seal and more road paving coming in the future. Additionally, he said, Luebbe’s office has continued to make repairs on bridges around the county and Dean would expect to see more work being completed on bridges as well.

“I believe the money raised will be divided equally among the local governments,” Dean said. “We have no idea what that amount would be right now. When Luebbe finds out that amount I imagine he will give us an idea as to what projects he wants to add to the mix. Fayette County is in pretty good shape (in reference to bridge repairs and replacements) within the county. We are excited. We believe that DeWine has indicated that he is going to help counties with other things as well. We lost a lot of our funding over the past few years with local government funds, as well as paying a bigger portion of indigent defense, which is the amount of money we pay when people can’t afford their own attorney. I think that the state and the governor are pushing to pick up a bigger portion of that, which would go a long way with helping the county out, and the city as well.”

In addition to DeWine, CCAO extended its appreciation to Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, Minority Leader Kenny Yuko and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, as well as the members of the conference committee and lawmakers who provided leadership and support.

“As an elected official, it is difficult to raise revenues, but today’s action was necessary to help keep Ohio economically competitive,” CCAO President Julie Ehemann said.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.

The information in this article was provided by a press release from the The County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

By Martin Graham