House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and House Finance Committee Ranking Member Rep. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) issued statements following the passage of House Bill (HB) 74, the state’s two-year transportation budget. Democrats fought against the governor’s proposed cuts to public transit funding in the bill, securing $193.7 million over the next two years, double the governor’s proposed investment.
“This isn’t a Democratic budget—far from it—but Democrats were able to deliver key wins to double the investment in public transportation, get rid of the governor’s proposed fee hikes and support a program to help victims of domestic violence access transportation when they need it most. We made this bill better,” said Leader Sykes. “While these are real wins that expand access, equity and the opportunity for Ohioans to get to work, go to school and earn a living, we’ll continue to push for resources to fully meet the needs of workers, businesses and our economic recovery.”
Other key Democratic wins in the transportation budget include:
Ensuring fairness and transparency of taxpayer dollars by requiring more highway construction and maintenance projects are subject to competitive bidding;
Removing the governor’s proposed hikes in vehicle registration and other fees to save Ohioans money;
Securing funds for public transit vouchers for victims of domestic violence who need help getting to court, medical appointments and school.
“Public transit is a business friendly, pro-growth investment in our economy and in the opportunity for working people and families to pursue the American dream, that’s why Democrats fought to reverse the governor’s proposed cuts and re-invest in Ohio,” said Rep. Crawley. “Democrats secured a number of wins in this budget, including doubling the governor’s proposed investment in public transit. However, we’re still not at the level we need to be to fully meet the demands of rebuilding our economy and making it easier for people to get to work, go to school and make a living—the kind of progressive action we need to move Ohio forward. Democrats will continue to push to see those needs are met.”
Democrats offered a number of amendments on the House floor Thursday, including an amendment to invest an additional $13 million in public transit funds in each of the next two years. Dems offered other amendments on motor fuel quality testing and tracking gas tax collection data to see where and how funds are spent. Republicans rejected each amendment.
After passing the House, the transportation budget moves to the Senate for consideration.