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Economy

Senate President Not Ruling Out Gas Tax Hike

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Karen Kasler
/
Senate President Larry Obhof

News that there’s no money for new road construction projects in the transportation budget coming next month has state lawmakers considering how to fix that. And one Republican leader isn’t ruling out a hike in the gas tax. 

ODOT’s construction budget has come from bonds taken out against the Ohio Turnpike, but that revenue stream is drying up, leaving ODOT with an estimated $700 million less than it had five years ago. So Senate President Larry Obhof says all options are on the table, including an increase in the 28-cent a gallon gas tax.

“Anytime you talk about increasing taxes, that’s probably not going to meet a very warm reception in the Senate. But we will consider our alternatives,” Obhof said.

A coalition of business leaders and local officeholders called Fix Our Roads Ohio is suggesting a gas tax hike or an annual fee on electric vehicles or a dedicated funding source for public transit. But the group says construction projects are economic drivers and can’t be put off.