News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Akron General

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Experts debate how to fund Ohio's roads in the future
Current driving trends are hurting the infrastructure's biggest forms of revenue
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Funding for road construction is waning because of new driving habits.
Courtesy of Doug Kerr
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The state’s aging infrastructure is in need of repairs, but new driving habits have caused old methods of funding to become less profitable. Experts talk about some possible solutions to the dilemma.

LISTEN: Kasler on road funding's future

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:45)


Road construction is funded by the gasoline tax, which is declining because cars are more efficient and rates of millennial drivers are falling. And higher inflation is giving those fewer dollars less purchasing power. A simple solution to securing the future of road construction funds could be to raise the gas tax. 

Republican Rep. Rex Damschroder of Fremont says it is fairest and simplest to charge those who use the roads what it would take to fix them, but he admits it’s a tough sell.

“There’s a lot of legislators out there without enough guts. And I will say that, to support, if you want to call it a tax, call it whatever you want, a user fee or a tax," Damschroder says. "It costs money to maintain the highways. We need good infrastructure.”

Fool's errand
But former state representative and longtime transportation expert Gene Krebs, who is also a Republican, says talk of raising the gas tax is a fool’s errand.

“In order to make up for the lost purchasing power that ODOT’s currently experiencing, you’d have to raise the gasoline tax two pennies a year every single year just to maintain status quo," Krebs says. "We’re not going to do that.”

Krebs advocates a restructuring of transportation to find the most efficient ways to get people and goods around the state, which he says could be by roads, by river, by air or by rail.

What about electric cars?
But Damschroder maintains a gas tax is the most direct way to fund roads. But as for vehicles which do not use gasoline, Damschroder says they should be left alone for now.

“Kind of hold off until a lot of electric cars are on the road, a lot of hybrids are on the road and using the roads, and then maybe bring in the tax," Damschroder says. "But at this point, if we want to encourage green energy, we can’t tax them to death, kill the industry before it starts.”

But Krebs says there are no good choices regarding ODOT funding now, just ugly ones. And he suggests taxing the owners of electric and hybrid cars in Ohio now, even if it would be controversial.

What will kill what?
“The General Assembly, as you and I both know, does not like or enjoy taking tough, unpopular stances,” Krebs says.

“But that could kill an industry before it starts,” Damschroder says.

“It won’t kill an industry,” Krebs says.

“It won’t come to Ohio if we’re going to tax it,” Damschroder says.

“That’s a de-minimis tax that would have no impact on the industry,” Krebs says.

But Krebs and Damschroder do agree that if legislators just get more revenue without any new standards on how it should be spent, then the situation will not change.

Krebs notes that the transportation budget included a task force to study ODOT’s financial situation, but that no members have been appointed to it. The task force is supposed to deliver a report in December.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University