Ohio Senate likely to concur on fuel tax

| 3/26/2003

Ohio’s transportation budget likely will include the full 6-cent-a-gallon fuel tax hike sought by Gov. Bob Taft, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday.

Late last week, Senate Republicans abandoned a plan to cancel one-third of the House-proposed increase if the federal government agreed to help with highway funds.

The state’s $4.7 billion construction budget, which legislative leaders want ready for Taft’s signature by the end of the week, would increase the state’s 22-cent-a-gallon fuel tax by 2 cents a year through 2005, The Newark Advocate reported. The increase would raise $402 million annually for highway construction.

The Senate Highways and Transportation Committee is expected to vote on the budget early this week. The bill would then go to the full Senate.

Senators plan to drop from the House version a proposed vehicle-titling fee and instead raise driver’s license fees and annual vehicle registration fees.

The Senate agreed with another House proposal to lower the state’s blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08, as mandated by a 2000 federal law. The state would lose 2 percent of its federal highway aid if it fails to lower the standard.