Transportation from the 1950s...

from "An Economic Development Agenda for Ohio's Next Governor" by the Greater Cleveland Growth Association,
January 1998

Most of Ohio's existing transportation financing policies and programs were formulated during the 1950s when the federal interstate system was developed. Ohio basically has one dedicated transportation funding sourcethe motor vehicle fuel taxwhich is constitutionally constrained to highway-related purposes. This situation occurs at a time when federal transportation policies are encouraging the use of federal and local/state matching resources in a flexible manner to creatively address a variety of strategic local, regional and state transportation needs.

There is a need to take a fresh look at how the state should reposition itself to be an effective transportation financing partner in cooperation with local governments, regional programs and the private sector.

It is recommended that the following actions be taken by the state:

  • Remove the constitutional constraint on the use of motor vehicle fuel taxes.
  • Revise existing state formulas for distributing transportation revenues to townships, municipalities and counties to more equitably reflect each jurisdiction's share of the total system's preservation needs, contribution to state transportation revenues, and/or local transportation-related tax effort.
  • Provide additional state transportation funds to assist in the financing of priority state, regional and local preservation, capacity-enhancement and new projects and that can be utilized with maximum flexibility among all transportation modes to complement federal transportation policies and programs.
  • Provide new and/or expanded permissive transportation funding mechanisms (i.e., vehicle license tax, local option motor vehicle fuel tax) for local governments and regions to help meet their priority transportation engineering and construction needs.
  • Develop new state transportation policies and programs that strengthen the ODOT-metropolitan partnership in addressing critical urban transportation issues that impact regional and state economic development strategies, encourage farmland preservation and urban revitalization, and preserve the existing system and make it operate more efficiently and effectively.
  • Update Access Ohio, the state's long-range transportation plan, to better reflect the different transportation needs and priorities of the various regions throughout Ohio.
  • Provide incentives to counties and applicable regional entities to formulate comprehensive development plans.




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Using gas taxes only to build and maintain highways is like dedicating sin taxes to build more bars.
Ken Prendergast,
Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers



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