The state transportation budget is one of four parts that form the overall budget proposal, and it is of great significance. Ohio’s extensive highway system, coupled with the state’s thousands of miles of smaller, rural roads, presents a unique challenge when deciding the places and ways transportation-related resources are allocated. I stand with House Republicans in balancing Ohio’s transportation and infrastructure needs, enhancing public safety, and using taxpayer dollars responsibly. As such, I am proud to have voted for House Bill 26, which the Ohio House recently passed.

Because the transportation budget contains a number of components, I thought it would be helpful to lay out some of its major provisions. First, House Bill 26 makes Ohio more competitive on many fronts. The bill retains the taxation of the motor fuel tax (MFT) at the wholesale level, thereby ensuring that business owners continue to have about a month after purchasing fuel before having to pay tax to the state. Also, compressed natural gas (CNG) will remain exempt from the motor fuel tax to avoid placing an additional burden on an industry still just getting off the ground.

In order to make Ohio’s trucking industry more competitive with other states, House Bill 26 creates a pilot program in four counties in which registration fees on semis will be cut in half for two years, from $30 to $15. During that time, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles will be tasked with studying the effectiveness of the program. Ideally, reducing the cost of registering a commercial vehicle will push more companies to seek registrations at a more competitive price. Furthermore, the bill authorizes the Director of Transportation to establish variable speed limits that differ from the statutory speed limits on I-670, I-90, and US 33. This corresponds in part to numerous projects in Ohio focused on expanding the use of technology on the roadways.

Additionally, House Bill 26 enacts several common-sense reforms for both Ohioans and their local communities. These include permitting an unattended vehicle to be running if it is locked or parked on residential property, making the failure to display a front license plate a secondary offense if the car is legally parked, increasing the transaction fee for deputy registrars to $5.25 from $3.50, and permitting a county commission to levy a $5 motor vehicle license fee for transportation purposes. The bill also prioritizes expanding the availability and convenience of local services.

Crafting the transportation budget requires careful consideration of many diverse factors. House Bill 26 invests more than $7.8 billion over the next two years through creative and financially sound proposals to develop infrastructure in the present and set Ohio up for future success. I am proud of the bill that has come out of extensive deliberation and improved upon the executive proposal, and my hope is that as House Bill 26 undergoes consideration in the Senate, we can work together to innovatively meet our state’s transportation needs.


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