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Government & Politics

Mobility Subscriptions, Autonomous Vehicles Changing Transportation

road construction
The gas tax increase will fund more road construction projects, but changing transportation trends could change things in the future.

County engineers are making plans for local infrastructure as they get a better idea of just how much revenue they’ll get from the new gas tax increase.

The fight over raising the gas tax may be over, but some believe there’s a bigger discussion on the horizon.

Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson said the extra revenue, generated partly through a 10.5 cent gas tax increase, can go a long way in helping municipalities and counties take on some bigger projects.

But, at a Columbus Chamber forum, Robertson said driving trends are drastically changing.

He notes a declining interest in car ownership, driverless vehicles, and so-called mobility subscriptions where you can pay a monthly fee for rideshare programs. Robertson said, with all this, the state needs to look beyond a gas tax to fund projects for roads and bridges.

"It’s something that we need to lean into and not shy away from," Robertson said. "But it’s important that we are leaders and agencies of action who are willing to jump in and have the difficult conversations and figure out what’s best for our constituents.”

He said that might mean talking about the possibility of different sources of revenue, such as fees on vehicle mileage.