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FOR Ohio Update--March 22, 2019

Ohio Senate sends transportation budget back to House

Late yesterday the Senate amended and approved a version of H.B. 62 (transportation budget) by a vote of 24-6.  The Senate version has the following provisions:
  • Establishes a 6 cent increase to the gas tax (for all fuel types, including diesel) starting July 1, 2019
  • No indexing of gas tax
  • Instates $175 registration fees for electric vehicles and $75 for hybrids (to be effective 180 days after the effective date of the bill; must be used for roads and bridges, operating costs of related state agencies or funding matches for these purposes)
  • Cuts public transit funding back to $55 million per year of flex funding
  • Restores provision allowing municipalities and townships to levy a $5 license registration fee which must be used for highway purposes
The Senate version only fully funds the biennium, the $7.94 billion bill is a reduction of $904 million from the budget proposed by Governor DeWine, see HB 62 appropriations, ODOT Senate Comparison and MFT to locals
FOR Ohio is continuing the push for more than what the Senate passed and the Governor is still stating the need is 18 cents.  At this point, we expect a conference committee to be convened next week to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The conference committee has not been named.
All FOR Ohio Coalition members are being asked to do one final full court press to all House and Senate members over the weekend.  Here are the talking points:
  • Thank the member for their consideration of H.B. 62 and provisions to fund infrastructure needs in Ohio. The reality is the hard part is over. The decision has been made to address the problem - now it's just a matter of getting it right. You wouldn't paint 3/4 of your house or drive 3/4 of the way to a destination. We are getting there!
  • We are strongly advocating for the Conference Committee to do something more substantial/meaningful than what either the House or Senate produced in their competing bills – something that is more closely aligned with what the actual needs are and what the Administration proposed. We cannot have this be a negotiation between low and lower. Again, we are advocating for a more substantial investment than either the House or Senate versions.
  • If the Conference Committee were to produce something higher, what will you commit to supporting with respect to a rate? If so, what rate?
  • Gather intelligence and report back to Beth.
The FOR Ohio Coalition, through all of the coalitions members grassroots efforts to date, have had a significant impact on the deliberations.  We will ask that each of you reach out once again, for another week, to keep our message strong! 
*It is our understanding ODOT is updating all their legislative district spreadsheets with the Ohio Senate numbers, continue to monitor their budget website and for information.  See latest FOR Ohio Statement

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