Ohio lawmakers approve transportation budget

| Monday, March 31, 2003

The Ohio House and Senate approved the state’s $4.7 billion transportation budget March 26, according to local media.

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

The two-year budget plan would raise the state’s fuel tax 6 cents a gallon over the next three years. In the third year, however, if the federal government meets certain highway funding goals, the state would reduce up to 2 cents of the increase.

It would also phase out the 3-cent diesel fuel surcharge, beginning in 2005.

The new budget would increase the 22-cent-a-gallon fuel tax by 2 cents a year through 2005, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The increase would raise $402 million annually solely for road projects.

When combined with proposed hikes in vehicle registration fees and drivers’ licenses, the Ohio Transportation Department estimated it would generate $580 million more a year.

The bill would lower the drunken driving standard from 0.10 percent blood alcohol content to 0.08 percent, as mandated by a 2000 federal law.

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