Earlier this month, I provided an update on the Ohio Transportation Budget (House Bill 74) when the bill cleared the House.
The Senate made some initial changes to the House passed budget, then during rounds of negotiations between the two chambers, the Senate kept some of its changes and then added back some language desired by the House. The Senate passed the measure on Wednesday and the House concurred on Thursday. Unlike the last transportation budget, this one has been reported out timely and will be in effect at the start of the fiscal year (July 1) to keep highway projects and repair and maintenance projects funded and on schedule.
In its final form, the Transportation Budget does not contain the distracted driving provision, which will be taken up in a separate bill later this session. The final bill also removed the vehicle registration fee increase sought by the governor. The budget deficit for the Highway Patrol will be covered with general refund funds instead of the increased fees. The final version of the bill also restored the funding for public transit with a combination of general revenue funding and flex funding.
The two-year $8 billion funding budget now moves to the governor for his signature. The budget provides more than $6 billion for road and bridge projects. That investment will keep Ohio’s transportation system updated and enable Ohio’s economy to continue to move forward as we emerge from the pandemic.