Ohio Department of Transportation

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.

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