state revenue crunch has Ohio officials looking to the fuel pump and
vehicle paperwork fees to help fund road projects.
either an increase in state funding or an increase from the federal
government, it's a distinct possibility" the state will run out of
money for new road construction projects by 2006, Brian Cunningham,
spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, told the Coshocton
task force, made up of state and local lawmakers, state agency officials
and representatives of transportation interests, has recommended the
state raise its fuel tax and increase vehicle paperwork fees to help
deal with substantial needs for road and bridge repair," the newspaper
group as a whole stopped short of specifying the increase amount,
but individual members are recommending 3 to 6 cents, the Tribune reported. Each penny raises about $63 million.
22-cent fuel tax produced $1.43 billion in fiscal year 2002, a figure
that has declined slightly over the past two years. Most of that money
is divided among state projects, local governments and the Ohio Highway
Patrol, which gets about 13 percent of the tax collected.
committee also recommended removing the Highway Patrol from the fuel
tax, effectively freeing up about $190 million that would go to local
road projects, according to the newspaper. The patrol would then be
funded by increased fees for vehicle registrations, titles and driver's
Gov. Bob Taft
has stopped short of committing to a fuel tax increase but noted that
if nothing is done, road construction money will disappear.