Ohio Department of Transportation

A Metro RTA bus
RAYMOND WAMBSGANS / CREATIVE COMMONS

Akron Metro RTA plans to use $3 million in grant funding from the State of Ohio for bus maintenance and bus stop improvements.

The money will also help Metro RTA fund new programs, including Flex Ride. The initiative aims to connect suburban job centers with workers in need of transportation. The program is expected to launch next year.

Metro RTA Planning Director Valarie Shay, says this money allows the organization the opportunity to do more with current budgets.

Photo of the Ohio Department of Transportation's Traffic Center
/ STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio has been at the forefront of engineering self-driving cars. The state transportation department wants to hear what citizens have to say about the future of Ohio roads and highways. It’s hosting a public meeting Monday in Akron to gather ideas for improving the state’s transportation system over the next 25 years. ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said they will show their plans and listen to the community.

Ohio continues to give the green light to businesses that want to help pioneer the development of self-driving vehicles. Just last week at a COSI conference, Lt. Governor Jon Husted was wooing Toyota, Waymo, Ford, the American Trucking Associations, AAA and others.

Ohio has received $17.8 million to generate data on self-driving vehicles, an area of research in which the state is already playing a prominent role, according to the state's U.S. senators.

Graphic of uninsured rates by state in 2018
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, September 11: 

a photo of the Ohio Supreme Court
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Five state employees have filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming their rights have been violated by being required to pay union dues.

Four employees with the Ohio Department of Transportation and one with the Ohio Department of Public Safety have filed suit against two labor unions, Gov. Mike DeWine and Department of Administrative Services Director Matt Damschroder. Patrick Semmens with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation said it is unconstitutional to require the workers to pay union dues.

photo of roads
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency in 63 counties Ohio counties due to heavy rains that damaged roadways in June.

The move allows the Department of Transportation to get federal funding for road repairs. ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning says they’ll be identifying the affected roads over the next two weeks. But they will consider more than just the level of damage.

photo of closed road
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Nearly three quarters of Ohio’s counties are under a "state of emergency" declaration because of severe weather last month. 

Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a "state of emergency" in 63 of Ohio’s 88 counties where severe weather caused serious highway damage in June. The heavy rain and flash floods compromised the integrity of roads and bridges. Some of them still remain closed or have lane restrictions.

a photo of a field with Pollinator Project sign
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

If you drive Ohio highways you may have noticed more flowers and taller grass on the side of the road.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has begun planting wildflowers along highways across the state with the goal of creating habitats for pollinators.

Each site requires $400 to get started, but ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning said the project will save Ohio taxpayers millions.

“Just last year, we’ve already saved about $2.28 Million in just reducing our mowing of these areas, and that number’s going to continue to grow as we continue to expand these.”

trucks use left lane sign
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

It’s orange barrel season and one of our listeners asked our OH Really team an interesting question about sharing the road in construction zones.

We helped him find the answer.

On route 8 in northern Summit County, traffic has been reduced to two lanes in each direction and concrete barriers are set up as crews resurface a six mile section of the road. There are signs throughout the construction zone that illustrate listener Seth Marks’ concern.  

photo of Lordstown GM assembly line
YOUR VOICE OHIO

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 18: 

photo of Jack Marchbanks
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The director of the Ohio Department of Transportation is not pleased with the decision by the House Finance Committee to cut Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed 18 cent gas tax increase down to just under 11 cents. But he’s holding out hope. 

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said the vote to cut the increase on gasoline from 18 cents per gallon to 10.7 cents and to make the increase on diesel fuel 20 cents is disappointing.

photo of Larry Obhof
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed 18-cent hike in the gas tax is still before state lawmakers. They would have to approve it as part of the transportation budget, which must be signed into law by March 31. The  Republican leader in the Ohio Senate says if that tax goes up, he wants another one to go down.

Senate President Larry Obhof says if lawmakers have to hike the gas tax, it should be paired at some point with a tax cut.

“I think we should do an income tax cut anyway. But I absolutely would support doing an offset.”

a photo of gas pumps
ROSCHETZKY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gov. Mike DeWine is proposing an 18-cent hike to the gas tax in order to avoid what he’s calling an impending crisis with Ohio’s roads and bridges. There’s a provision in DeWine’s plan that is drawing concerns from lawmakers.

DeWine’s plan would take Ohio’s gas tax from 28 cents a gallon to 46 cents a gallon. The Ohio Department of Transportation says that would generate $1.2 billion next year.

But the plan also calls for increasing the gas tax every year based on inflation.

photo of Larry Householder
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The committee reviewing the financial situation facing the Ohio Department of Transportation heard testimony for a second day today – and is expected to release a report recommending funding solutions very soon. And it seems likely that an increase in the gas tax will be part of it. 

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says he’s all ears when it comes to a possible gas tax.

KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The road ahead is rough for the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to the agency’s director. He spoke before a panel that will recommend to Gov. Mike DeWine how to fund major new road construction, telling them that money is also running out for maintenance of existing infrastructure.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said 15 years of flat revenues from the gas tax, inflation in highway construction costs and huge debt payments have driven the agency into jeopardy.

“It is a grim financial situation. It is also a dangerous one,” Marchbanks said. 

Karen Kasler

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.

a photo of a new Ohio welcome sign
ODOT

The state department of transportation has a bigger job than usual in changing the 38 road signs at Ohio’s borders that feature the new governor’s name.   

The signs are meant to last at least 20 years, so ODOT usually just replaces the names of the governor and lieutenant governor. But ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning says because the state’s tourism logo changed in 2015, all the signs were set to be replaced.

Ohio State Fair
WIKIPEDIA

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, September 17: 

  • Ohio State Fair contract with operator of fatal ride;
  • Akron borrows more money for sewer project;
  • Boyfriend charged after remains of missing woman Akron found;
  • Ohio Supreme Court to decide conviction for couple who failed to receive medical care for daughter;
  • Construction project begins on State Route 8;

Ohio State Fair ends contract with operator of fatal ride

photo of Cleveland Interstate 77 closures
GOOGLE MAPS

The closure of much of I-77 in Cleveland over the weekend was canceled due to weather, and the closures are now slated to take place this coming weekend.

The closures will happen on I-77 between 480 and 490, the five-mile stretch of road that takes cars directly into downtown Cleveland.

photo of RTA blue line train
MICHAEL BARERA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 23:

Utica Shale Drillling RIg
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 4:

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 5:

photo of snow plow
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

State road crews have been out in force since before the storm started Friday.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning says 1,300 snow plows and 3,000 employees were out working on roads before and as the snow and ice storm began. He says this kind of storm is the most difficult for ODOT.

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