Now that Ohio lawmakers have approved raising the gasoline tax by 10.5 cents per gallon, officials in north Summit County communities are happy they will receive more money to repair and maintain roads.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the two-year state transportation budget April 3 to increase the gas tax by 10.5 cents per gallon to 38.5 cents, and the diesel tax by 19 cents to 47 cents a gallon effective July 1.
"I know it was a challenging decision for both our governor and our legislators to make," said Twinsburg Mayor Ted Yates. "But I think what we’re looking at, the condition of our overall infrastructure … this is one way that can help local governments and municipalities keep up with the need for roadway projects."
Macedonia is expected to receive about $310,000 next year, an increase in state road revenue from about $490,000 to about $800,000. Twinsburg is expecting to see an increase of about $440,000, bringing its state revenue from $700,000 to a little over $1.14 million. Mayors of both cities say that the money will be added to what would normally be spent on roads.
"It’s going to help our infrastructure and every dollar we get we’re going to put right back into these roads," said Macedonia Mayor Nick Molnar. "So, Macedonia is getting right back on track in terms of our infrastructure."
Yates said the city’s budget for road work this year is about $1 million. This does not include major multi-year projects, such as Route 91, of which about 80 percent of the $4.14 million cost is being paid for with federal funding.
"We do a great job of keeping our roads up to date," said Yates. "Probably 80 percent of our roads are less than 10 years old. But it does create opportunity for us to bring in roads that we might put off."
Other local communities are getting smaller increases: Northfield Village ($78,849), Northfield Center ($56,729), Reminderville ($97,393), Sagamore Hills ($78,800) and Twinsburg Township ($56,729).
Molnar said the city’s new income tax levy is allowing the city to spend a total of $1.9 million on roads this year. Work will include projects on 10 roads, plus 10 percent up-front on the cost of a project on Valley View Road, with the remainder paid for with a zero-percent interest Ohio Public Works Commission loan. Still, he said, the added state funding will certainly be useful.
"We know we have about $30 million in roads to pave and the levy that passed will not fund all of those, so we’re going to put that right back into continuing repairing the roads in town," said Molnar. "We can use a heck of a lot more than that."
Statewide, local government gas tax funding under the delayed transportation budget will increase by $366 million, or 56 percent, to slightly more than $1 billion in 2020.
All told, the tax increases and additional registration fees of $200 on electric vehicles and $100 on hybrids will raise $865 million more a year, with the state keeping about $500 million.
A budget provision awarded 45 percent of the revenue from the newly increased taxes to local governments, which still will retain a 40 percent share of the revenue raised by the current gas and diesel tax rates.
The state keeps 60 percent of the current fuel taxes.
The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.