Ramos: State Needs Innovative Infrastructure Plan To Drive Economic Growth In Ohio
Says transportation budget missed opportunity to invest in robust plan for future
March 01, 2017
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In an 83-13 vote, the Ohio House today approved the proposed budget plans for the Ohio Department of Transportation and several other state agencies. House Bill 26, the $7.8 billion transportation bill, largely funds infrastructure projects and public safety programs over the next two fiscal years.

“We need to adequately fund a truly modern transportation system that allows all Ohioans to get to and from work, school, the grocery store and medical appointments. Ohio’s transportation budget must include comprehensive funding for roads, bridges, sidewalks, complete streets and public transit if we want to modernize our economy. Instead, this budget retains the old transportation system that only worked for the old economy,” said State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). “Sometimes, getting Ohioans back to work means actually getting them there. Additionally, investing in our future means investing in transportation options our younger generations prefer to encourage them to stay in Ohio to build their lives and careers here. This budget doesn't do any of that. I voted no, because we need to invest in a holistic transportation system for all Ohioans.”

Democratic lawmakers offered several amendments on the House floor, including proposals to change the failure to display a front license plate from a primary to a secondary offense; strengthen Ohio’s motor voter law compliance; require counties who want increase license registrations by $5 to place the increase on the ballot; and hold local public transit systems harmless from cuts due to proposed changes to the Medicaid managed-care organization (MCO) tax. However, each amendment was tabled along largely partisan lines.

HB 26 includes several fee hikes, boosting service fees paid to a deputy registrar from $3.50 to $5.25 and increasing the multi-year registration fees by the same proportion. The bill will also allow county commissioners to levy a new $5 fee for Ohio license plates.

In addition, House Bill 26 also includes several other notable changes related to Ohio infrastructure and transportation:

  • Establishes a Division of Freight within the Department of Transportation.

  • Increases an earmark for Transportation Improvement Districts from $3.5 million per year to $4.5 million

  • Establishes a two-year pilot program in Clinton, Lucas, Montgomery and Stark counties to reduce commercial vehicle registrations from $30 to $15 and requires the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to study the effect of lowering commercial trailer fees.

House Bill 26 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. 

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