Message from Beth -- April 18, 2019
The legislative agenda for ACEC Ohio has started out with a huge win! On Wednesday, April 3rd, Governor Mike DeWine signed a new 10.5-cent gas tax increase and a 19-cent diesel fuel tax increase into law that will generate $865 million in new funding for infrastructure improvements. In addition, the transportation budget bill (H.B. 62) also added registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles at $200 and $100 respectively along with a permissive $5 license tag fee allowed at the county level raising the maximum fee levied from $25 to $30. Indexing the gas tax was not included in the final bill. Please thank your state legislators, the Governor and Lt. Governor for their leadership on this important issue.
ODOT will start to accept TRAC Program Applications as of May 1st and expects a major new program of $150 million per year for 5 years. In addition, the safety program will receive an additional $50 million per year for 5 years. ODOT estimates their capital program over the next five years will be a steady $2 billion.
The average city and village will receive an increase of 62.5% in MFT revenue from the new bill. County engineers will receive an additional $1.53 million or 62.8% increase annually. Lastly, townships will increase on average 67 percent.
The FOR Ohio Coalition plans to stay in-tact, additional information on the transportation budget bill can be found here: FOR Ohio Update-- April 12, 2019
The ACEC Ohio sponsored indemnification bill was re-introduced by Representative Bill Blessing (HB 159). The bill would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in contracts related to public improvements. Many of our member firms have been confronted with having to sign a contract with a state or local agency that included uninsurable “broad form” indemnification and/or defense requirements.
As a matter of fairness, design professionals should not be asked to indemnify and/or defend another party for losses that the designer did not cause, cannot insure against and were caused by factors beyond the designer’s control. House Bill 159 will prohibit requiring design professionals to indemnify public agencies for claims that are not attributable to negligent, reckless or intentional wrongful conduct on the part of the design professional.
On April 2, Rep. Blessing presented sponsor testimony on the bill in the House Civil Justice Committee. The next hearing will be on April 30th for proponent testimony.
We continue to monitor bills moving through the legislature including those addressing clean water, energy, and additional funds for school projects. A "bill monitoring report" can be found on the ACEC Ohio advocacy webpage and is discussed each month during our government affairs committee meeting. Feel free to join the committee or contact me for updates.