Take a moment and imagine the roads, highways, and bridges that you utilize every day. The government is tasked with ensuring that our state’s vast transportation system—both complex highway networks and smaller, rural roads—is properly maintained and that transportation-related resources are allocated responsibly. In fact, the state transportation budget is one of four parts that comprise the overall biennial budget for Ohio.

Following much discussion in the Ohio General Assembly, Governor Kasich recently signed House Bill 26, the transportation budget for this biennium. The bill determines how the state will allot its transportation-related funds for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. With an emphasis on meeting infrastructure needs as they stand now and also setting Ohio up for future success, this important piece of legislation is composed of innovative and financially responsible proposals.

The provisions within House Bill 26 aim to make Ohio more competitive, both regionally and nationally. For example, the bill retains the taxation of the motor fuel tax (MFT) at the wholesale level. It means Ohio business owners will continue to have about a month after purchasing to pay tax to the state, thereby preventing these businesses from being required to make payments before earning revenue from the sale of fuel. Compressed natural gas (CNG) will remain exempted from the motor fuel tax in order to help the industry along rather than burden it.

Common-sense reforms benefiting every day Ohioans are also included in House Bill 26. One of these measures permits an unattended vehicle to be running if it is locked or parked on residential property. It not only expands the rights of Ohio motorists while on private property, but also ensures that young children do not enter an unattended vehicle by assuring it is locked. Other provisions include those geared towards broadening the availability and convenience of local services.

As you may have glimpsed, the state transportation budget contains a variety of reforms and provisions. Though many, they are all designed to balance Ohio’s transportation and infrastructure needs and enhance public safety. With a focus on securing safe roads and bridges, utilizing technological innovation, and promoting business growth, the legislation allows us to distribute resources in a way that best meets these objectives. Subsequently, the state can be effectively positioned for continued growth in the future.

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