RELATED: Here's how much local governments would get from Ohio's new gas tax
The $7.4 billion two-year transportation budget bill must be signed into law by March 31.
Obhof raised the prospect that the gas tax increase could be peeled out of the transportation budget bill and later inserted in a separate bill that deals with tax reform.
Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday that he initially pushed back against a gas tax hike until he saw the financial data.
“18-cents is a minimalist approach, it is a conservative approach, it is frankly a status quo approach. People aren’t going to wake up in two years and think they’re driving on the most fabulous roads in the world. But it’s going to keep us in the game, it’s going to save lives and it’s going to allow Ohio to continue to grow,” DeWine said.
The last gas tax increase came in 2005.
DeWine wants the hike to begin July 1 and then be tied to inflation in future years, allowing it to automatically rise without returning to lawmakers for further approvals. The same 60-40 percentage split would continue between the state and local jurisdictions.
If lawmakers agree to the entire increase, the total state gas tax would be 46 cents per gallon. That would put Ohio’s gas tax in line with neighboring states: 58.7 cents in Pennsylvania, 44.1 cents in Michigan, 42.9 cents in Indiana, 35.7 cents in West Virginia and 26 cents in Kentucky. Pennsylvania’s gas tax is the highest in the nation. Alaska’s 14-cent gas tax is the lowest.
The Ohio Constitution mandates that gas tax revenue only be used for construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of public highways and bridges.