Highway Funding in the News


February 25, 2019 - from the desk of Michelle Holdgreve

OCA Members,

On Thursday, February 21, 2019 Governor DeWine and his Administration committed to addressing Ohio’s transportation infrastructure funding problem by recommending an 18-cent increase to the state motor fuel user fee in the two-year transportation budget proposal.  The increase would take effect in July 1, 2019.  In addition, the fee would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index annually.  At its onset, an additional $1.2 billion would be available to state and local governments for transportation spending. 

The proposal must now be approved by the Ohio General Assembly.  Please take a moment and contact your legislators either by phone, email or letter, asking them to support the DeWine Administration’s transportation proposal.  If you are unfamiliar with your legislators, you can locate their name and contact information by entering your full address in the search function here - https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/   It works best when you have your 9-digit zip code.  Or call 1-800-282-0253 to be connected directly to your Representative’s or Senator’s office. 

As a guide for your conversations, please see the sample letter below. Remember, the most effective advocacy is one that is personal, so make sure to add your own perspective and experience. 


Also for background, additional details about the Fix Our Roads (FOR) Ohio recommendations can be found at www.fixourroadsohio.com.  You can also visit ODOT’s newly created budget website at https://beta.transportation.ohio.gov/budget.  Here you will find copies of Director Marchbanks’ testimony to the Ohio House Finance Committee as well as other importation information on their funding shortfall. 



Letter/Email Sample:

Ohio’s highways, whether the local two lane road or the interstate freeway, serve all who live, work and play in the Buckeye State. They get people to work each day and provide convenient access to shopping and recreation. They expedite commercial transportation and help Ohio’s economy thrive. But, population growth and economic development have increased demands on our roads and bridges and our roads are suffering from ruts and potholes and bridges are showing structural deficiency.


Our state is facing a major shortfall of reliable funding for our state’s roads and bridges. Without a funding increase, the system will continue to fall in disrepair and become further congested - damaging the overall vitality of our state and the safety of all Ohioans. The primary source of road and bridge funding in the state is through the Motor Fuel User Fee. At 28 cents-per-gallon, Ohio currently ranks 29th in the country and it is much lower than in other states. This fee has not been adjusted in 14 years, and the purchasing power of the 28-cent motor fuel user fee passed in 2005 now equates to 18 cents in 2018 dollars. Additional funding is about to dramatically decrease with the expiration of the Ohio’s Turnpike Board program and the continuing influence of inflation.


Absent new revenue, the Ohio Department of Transportation will make significant reductions and eliminate funding for new projects aimed to add capacity and relieve congestions, as well as delay needed maintenance and upgrades to existing bridges and roadways. In Governor DeWine’s proposed FY-2020 and 2021 Transportation Budget, he proposed increasing the state motor fuel user fee by 18-cents beginning on July 1, 2019.  In addition, the fee would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index annually going forward. 


This is the exact kind of leadership we need to see. Please support the DeWine Administration’s proposal to address the anticipated shortfall in transportation funding and resources for new projects designed to capacity and relieve congestion on Ohio’s roads and maintain and update existing bridges and roadways. Investing in Ohio’s transportation future is about ensuring safe, effective and efficient transportation for all Ohioans.


For the closing be sure to include your phone number so they can follow up if needed. 


Thanks for your support and let me know if you have any questions or need anything else. 



Ohio Chamber of Commerce

February 22, 2019

Governor’s Solution to $1 B Transportation Budget Shortfall Includes Gas Tax Hike

By Keith Lake

Yesterday, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks appeared before the House Finance Committee to rollout the DeWine Administration’s two-year transportation budget proposal. As expected, the proposal contains an increase in the state’s Motor Fuel Use Tax, better known as the gas tax.

As we blogged about previously, without additional revenue, the state will be forced to start delaying the performance of regular road and bridge maintenance and have no money available for improvements or new projects. The shortfall is approximately $1 billion annually.

To fill this gap, Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed an immediate – effective July 1, 2019 – gas tax increase of $0.18 per gallon. This would push the Ohio gas tax rate from $0.28 per gallon to $0.46 per gallon, putting Ohio’s tax in line with most of our neighboring states. The governor also proposes to index the rate to the Consumer Price Index, meaning it would likely increase automatically every subsequent July 1. The governor’s proposal does not include the establishment of a new fee on alternative fuel and electric vehicles that also utilize Ohio’s transportation infrastructure but whose owners do not pay the gas tax.

The additional revenue this $0.18 increase would generate equates to about $1.2 billion annually and will be split – as current proceeds are – between ODOT and local governments, with ODOT receiving roughly 60% and local governments the remaining 40%. That means ODOT would get about $750 million additional dollars per year.

The full transportation budget proposal will now be considered by the Ohio legislature, beginning in the House. Lawmakers have until March 31 to pass a final transportation budget.

The Ohio Chamber knows that investment in transportation infrastructure supports a vibrant and dynamic economic environment and ensures that Ohio businesses can move and access the goods and resources they need. That’s why, as part of our 2019-2020 Public Policy Priorities released just this week, we include support for efforts to ensure adequate and reliable funding for Ohio’s transportation system. This would include a reasonable increase in the gas tax.

Our Taxation and Public Expenditures Committee will be meeting on Wednesday to review and discuss Gov. DeWine’s transportation budget proposal. If you’re not already on the committee and would like to be part of this discussion, please let us know.

Press Releases and Statements

Ohio Department of Transportation

February 22, 2019

ODOT releases local impact

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Transportation today released searchable spreadsheets that give detailed numbers on what each Ohio county and municipality would receive based upon the proposed increase in the motor vehicle user fee called for in the department’s proposed 2020-21 budget.  

Ohio's cities, villages, counties, and townships would receive about 40 percent of the funding.

The amount municipalities receive is based on the number of motor vehicles registered in each municipality. Townships see their funds distributed based on both the number of center-line roadway miles and vehicle registrations.

State law also divides revenue equally among the state's 88 counties. The proposed increase would give each county engineer's office an additional $1.772 million.

Per a constitutional restriction, this money can only be used for purposes related to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of public highways and bridges.

Click here for a spreadsheet sorted by county.
Click here for a spreadsheet sorted by municipality.
Click here for more information on ODOT's budget.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Statement from FOR Ohio on Governor DeWine’s proposed transportation budget

(Columbus, OH) — The following statement is in response to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) biennial budget proposal for FY 2020/21.  This statement can be attributed in whole or in part to Curt Steiner, a spokesman for Fix Our Roads Ohio (FOR Ohio):

“Ohio faces an emerging financial crisis in its funding of state and local highways, roads and bridges, and Governor DeWine is providing strong leadership by attacking the problem head on.

“ODOT’s biennial budget proposal as outlined by Director Jack Marchbanks provides significant new revenue to fund a robust construction budget to maintain Ohio’s state and local roadways and to make needed improvements to provide safe transportation and to keep our economy moving.

“The new revenue not only prevents a scheduled halt this summer in jobs-producing new projects, but it provides sufficient levels of funding to move Ohio forward for years to come.

“Our coalition is also pleased that the ODOT budget proposal provides an increase in funds for public transit, an important component of Ohio’s ground transportation network.

“We thank Governor DeWine’s team for its decisive response to this problem in the opening weeks of a new administration. We also thank the House of Representatives for expedited hearings on this issue and the Senate for also holding early hearings.

“We urge all legislators to listen to the facts and adopt legislation that assures Ohio has a safe and modern transportation system to meet the economic and day-to-day needs of our state and its people.”

FOR Ohio is a growing statewide coalition of local government officials, transportation industry stakeholders, local chambers of commerce, and others. The group is working to educate Ohio citizens and policymakers about the critical needs of Ohio’s transportation infrastructure and is advocating for funding solutions that will provide long term, smart investment in Ohio’s transportation future.