One of the most primary and necessary roles of the government is to fund our infrastructure—the vast system of roads, highways, and bridges that make up our country. The creation of these thoroughfares is at the discretion of the government for the public’s use, and therefore, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure they are properly maintained. Every two years, the Ohio General Assembly passes the state transportation budget as a part of the two-year budget package the governor puts together for consideration.

Governor Kasich recently signed the transportation budget for this biennium, House Bill 26, which determines how the state will allocate its transportation-related resources for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. The legislation invests more than $7.8 billion over the next two years through creative and financially responsible proposals to both meet Ohio’s current infrastructure needs and position it for continued growth in the future.

The provisions within House Bill 26 strive to make Ohio more competitive, especially on a national basis. For example, the bill retains the taxation of the motor fuel tax (MFT) at the wholesale level. With this continuation, Ohio business owners will have up to a month after purchasing to pay tax to the state, preventing these businesses from having to make payments before earning revenue from the sale of fuel. Further, the bill maintains that the MFT is not applied to the sale of compressed natural gas, a still developing industry on which such a tax would place an additional burden.

House Bill 26 also makes some common-sense reforms for every day Ohioans. The legislation includes a measure to permit an unattended vehicle to be running if it is locked or parked on a residential property. In the brutally cold winters that Ohio often experiences, many people will start their cars in their driveways a few minutes prior to leaving, allowing them to warm and not realizing that this practice was in fact illegal. The provision expands the rights of Ohio motorists while on private property and also protects young children from entering an unattended vehicle by assuring it is locked.

The state transportation budget encompasses many different reforms and provisions, all committed to balancing Ohio’s transportation and infrastructure needs and enhancing public safety. Through this legislation, we have ensured that the state is distributing its resources responsibly to secure safe roads and bridges, utilize technological innovation, and promote business growth. With these goals in mind, the state can be better prepared for future success.

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