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ODOT Bracing For Big Hit From Drop In Gas Tax Revenues

Lower traffic levels have allowed some ODOT work that would normally be shifted to night hours to continue in daylight.
Karen Kasler
Lower traffic levels have allowed some ODOT work that would normally be shifted to night hours to continue in daylight.

The slowdown of the economy because of COVID-19 has had a huge impact on traffic and transit. And even though the state’s gas tax that funds road construction went up by 10.5 cents a gallon last July, the Ohio Department of Transportation is bracing for a big hit. 

Director Jack Marchbanks said in February, ODOT started preparing for a 35% fall in gas tax revenue for the quarter ending June 30. That would be a drop of $212 million for those three months. 

Right now he said it's unclear how far behind those revenues will be from projections, becasue there's a 60-day lag between gas sales and the revenue actually coming to ODOT.

But Marchbanks said fixing the list of the state’s 150 most dangerous intersections is still a priority.

“As of today, there’s not one of those 150 projects that we wanted to do to improve the safety of the system that have been delayed or are cancelled," Marchbanks said.

Marchbanks said he’s seeing evidence traffic is starting to rebound, which will help gas tax revenues.

And he added that lower traffic levels have allowed crews that might normally work nights because it’s safer to work extended hours in daylight.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.