Ohio House passes budget bill proposing increased fuel taxes

Staff Report

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio House has passed a transportation budget bill that includes increases in the state’s gas and diesel taxes to help maintain roads and bridges.

The House passed the bill 71-27 on Thursday. It now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

The bill would increase the gas tax by 10.7 cents per gallon over two years and the diesel tax by 20 cents per gallon over three years. Both increases would start Oct. 1.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine proposed increasing the current 28-cents-per-gallon tax by 18 cents a gallon.

In a statement following the approval but the House, DeWine stated, “With a constitutional budget deadline facing us on April 1, I want to thank Speaker Householder and Leader Sykes, Chair Oelslager and Ranking Member Cera, and members of the House for taking swift action to begin to address a looming crisis in transportation funding.”

“The House-passed bill is far from ideal, but I appreciate the strong bipartisan acknowledgement that our state and local jurisdictions have a major revenue shortage to deal with vital transportation needs,” DeWine continued. “I am very open to dialogue with the legislature on this issue, but I continue to believe that our proposal as introduced provides the money it takes to do the job right. I plan to work with the Senate to improve the House-passed bill and work toward a final agreement that funds vital maintenance, new construction, promotes jobs, makes our state more competitive, and enhances safety for the driving public.”

In addition to the gas tax increase, the transportation budget bill approved by the house included the following:

— Providing $100 million a year in federal transportation funding to public transit. (DeWine proposed $40 million.)

— Splitting revenue from the fuel taxes, with the Ohio Department of Transportation to receive 55 percent and 45 percent to go to local governments.

— A yearly registration fee on alternative-fuel vehicles including $200 for electric vehicles and $100 for hybrids.

— Requiring only one license plate on a vehicle, in the back.

— Allowing municipalities and townships to levy an additional $5 motor vehicle registration fee.

— Regulation by the state of light-weight electric scooters including age limits, speed restrictions and other provisions.

— The creation of Ohio’s Road to the Future Committee to study Ohio’s infrastructure needs and report back to the Ohio General Assembly by October 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Report