Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson has proposed increasing vehicle registration fees as a way to fund repairs for the area's roads and bridges. On Monday night, Robertson is hosting the first of a series of four forums about the possible change.
Ohio’s 2017 transportation budget allows local governments to implement a registration fee increase to fundraise for roads.
Robertson says increasing the fee by $5 per year will bring in an additional $5.6 million to Franklin County.
“There’s a process we need to follow. The process requires at least two public hearings with the county commissioners,” Robertson says. “And that will give me a chance to explain to the commissioners why this measure is so important.”
That would raise passenger-car renewal fees to 58 or 63 dollars a year depending on where one lives in Franklin County.
Columbus resident Crystal Amesquito says she's against the fee hike.
“I find it ridiculous because if they want to add money to something to improve something, then they should probably improve something more than the roads," Amesquito says. "Like homeless people living on the streets, they need a place to live."
Robertson says the Franklin County Engineer’s office has 35-40 projects it wants to work on in the next 15 years, and that commissioners improving the fee increase would bring the projected timeline down to 10 years.
But Columbus resident John Wallace thinks the fee increase would not be worthwhile.
“Right now the increase isn’t necessary. I mean you have to wind up renewing your license maybe once every two years,” Wallace says. “And in that time they’re only raising 10 extra dollars, multiply that by how many people? There’s more ways to generate funds.”
The next public presentations about the proposal are April 4, 10 and 17. Monday’s presentation is at 444 Fisher from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
If commissioners approve the fee, it will take effect at the beginning of 2019.