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Source : Ohio Department of Transportation
March 9, 2021
Author : Patty Rodriguez
In a resounding 87 to 8 vote, lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives passed an $8 billion transportation budget to cover the next two years. Roads, bridges, and public transit are all covered by the bill.
Around $6.5 billion will go to the state’s Department of Transportation for construction and maintenance.
$116 million will go to the Public Works Commission Local Transportation Improvement Program; $30 million is for the Development Services Agency’s Roadwork Development Grant Program; $126 to help local governments make up for lost funds due to the pandemic; and $100 million for new construction projects through the Transportation Review Advisory Council.
Governor Mike DeWine (R) had proposed the imposition of fees on distracted drivers dialed numbers, watched videos, or texted while driving but that measure was ultimately removed, while more funds for public transportation were added. Lawmakers say they wanted more time to weigh the distracted driving fees.
The bill gives $193.7 million in state and federal funds to public transportation, a nearly $100 million increase over what the governor had requested. According to local media, “DeWine had wanted to spend $7.3 million in state money on transit – a 90% drop from the 2019 budget bill.”
"The last thing we need to be doing during this pandemic crisis is cutting more transit dollars," Rep. Erica Crawley (D), said of the governor’s proposed cuts.
The bill will now head to the Senate where more changes to the budget are expected before the DeWine gets to make the final decision.