COLUMBUS—State Representative Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) voted yesterday in support of House Bill 23, the state transportation budget for fiscal years 2024-25.
One of the biggest wins was an amendment to raise the statutory limits on force accounts, which currently pose significant financial challenges for maintaining local roads and bridges. Within the past twenty years, construction, labor, material, and equipment costs have nearly tripled, with force account limits staying the same. The combination of inflation and inadequate funding allocation to counties has created a detrimental structure, drastically reducing the maintenance and repair that counties can perform on their own roadways and bridges. Ultimately, this causes counties to fall behind on the upkeep of highly utilized roadways, leading to the decline of our transportation infrastructure.
“To alleviate the financial burden on county engineers, an increase to the force account limit threshold was essential,” Manchester said. “County engineers within my district reported that stagnant force account rates negatively impacted their counties and shared that increasing these limits would greatly benefit their maintenance abilities at no additional cost to the taxpayers. I appreciate the Senate including this amendment in the Transportation Budget, as empowering local governments to protect communities is essential. This is a victory for county governments, and I am proud to have advocated for this change.”
The legislation now heads to Governor DeWine for his signature.