After just two hearings and two hours of public testimony, the panel appointed to recommend solutions to the funding crisis at ODOT is leaning toward one conclusion – the gas tax should be increased.
The panel heard testimony that approved of increasing the gas tax, including from Tom Balzer from the Ohio Trucking Association. He said truckers pay more than a third of the gas taxes but drive only 10 percent of the miles – and the average non-trucker should expect to pay more than just a 28 cent gas tax.
“That’s what we’re talking about, is investing in the biggest asset this country has and this state has. And all we’re investing as an Ohioan is $11.41 a month," Balzer said.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says he's willing to talk about a gas tax.
"We should be wililng to keep our powder dry and hear them out, listen to what the facts are, then make decisions," Householder says.
Householder says he's willing to talk about the option with Gov. Mike DeWine.
ODOT director Jack Marchbanks says a 1 cent increase in the gas tax would bring $67 million in revenue. But public transportation advocates, who were not represented among the 15 members of the committee, also asked the panel to find ways to fund mass transit.
No specifics on a tax increase were offered by the panel, which will release a report soon.