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More of the Same From Ohio's Post-Gas Tax Funding Decisions

Just days after the state approved a significant increase on its gas tax, and the state legislature is focusing much more on road projects than public transit.
April 11, 2019, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Ohio River

The Ohio State Legislature recently approved an increased tax on fuel sales, as detailed by Planetizen Correspondent Irvin Dawid, in an effort to generate funding for transportation infrastructure projects.

A recent spate of news coverage focuses on the new era of transportation funding in the state, already identifying the potential for concern that the state is repeating old patterns that got it into the funding mess to begin with. Big questions about how effective the new fuel tax will be in fixing the state's infrastructure deficit loom over the entire discussion.

An article by Pat LeFleur, for instance, focuses on the additional $70 million for public transit around the state, which would double the state's current investment. "The increased funding wouldn't come directly from the gas tax — that's reserved for road and bridge projects exclusively — but it's a move intended to boost what has been a meager investment from Columbus into the state's 61 transit authorities," writes LaFleur.

Writing from Cincinnati, LaFleur notes that the extra $70 million won't cover Cincinnati's transit funding needs, much less the rest of the state. Despite the addition of a new statewide fuel tax, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority is still searching for funding solutions.

Hannah Sperling also reports from Cincinnati on funding included in the state's new transportation budget to study the Eastern Bypass, "a proposed outer loop around the current outer loop that could potentially help ease congestion and spur new development farther away from the city's core."

"Depending on whom you ask, this is either a great idea or just one more example of wasting money on a pet project," according to Sperling. "The Eastern Bypass is a proposed four-lane highway that would go roughly 70 miles, connecting at Interstate 75 in Springboro and eventually reconnecting to I-75 at Crittendon in Grant County."

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