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Ohio House Democrats Call for More State Funds for Public Transportation

photo of bus
Democratic lawmakers are calling for more public transportation funding.

As state officials are trying to figure out how to plug a billion dollar hole in the road construction and repair budget, House Democrats want a 25-fold increase in the state’s investment into public transportation. They said more public money into systems like buses and railways can actually help the state’s road construction budget shortfall. 

Democratic Representative Michael Skindell of Lakewood said the state should be spending $150 million on public transit – up from about $6 million spent now.

He said that can help bring bus pass prices down, expand transit routes, and help improve systems.

Skindell said investing more in public transit can help the Ohio Department of Transportation, which says it needs an average of $1 billion in extra revenue a year to fix Ohio’s roads and bridges.

“When you remove the motor vehicles from the roadways and have more people taking public transit there’s less wear and tear on those roadways," Skindell said.

Gov. Mike DeWine plans to propose an increase to the gas tax to fill the construction budget shortfall, and ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks has said that could allow some federal funds to go to mass transit.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.