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.


“Our current transportation budget falls short of meeting the real transportation needs of all Ohioans,” said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). “In the 2015 Ohio Statewide Transit Needs Study, the Ohio Department of Transportation identified a need of $120 million for transit, but the current budget allocates only $33 million in federal funds. Ohio must be willing to make fair and equitable investments in transit and public infrastructure to meet the growing needs of our state, so that our roads are safe, our children can get to school and hard working men and women can travel to and from their jobs to provide for themselves and their families.”


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.


“While I supported Sub HB 26 because it will fund needed infrastructure projects and create good, living-wage jobs, this bill could have been much better,” said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “This is a highways bill, not a transportation bill, for it doesn’t improve Ohio’s dismal level of the public transportation funding. Ohio is seventh in population and fourteenth in ridership, yet we are thirty-eighth in per capita public transit dollars. Public transportation is an important component of our workforce strategies – we need to be able to get people to job locations after we give them the skills to compete. While this bill does put people to work, it fails to get people to work.”


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. 

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Lawmakers Push Solution To Stabilize 31 Fiscally Distressed Communities Hit Hard By Kasich's Budget Cuts

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced a new plan to assist struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut over $1.7 billion in local community funding. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions, and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.



 
 

Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”