The road ahead is rough for the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to the agency’s director.
ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks spoke before a panel that will recommend to Gov. Mike DeWine how to fund major new road construction, telling them that money is also running out for maintenance of existing infrastructure.
Marchbanks said 15 years of flat revenues from the gas tax, inflation in highway construction costs and huge debt payments have driven the agency into jeopardy.
“It is a grim financial situation. It is also a dangerous one," Marchbanks said.
Marchbanks said revenue for new projects from $1.5 billion in turnpike bonds has run out. He added that $150 million in maintenance on existing roads has already been delayed, and the state needs to catch up.
“If we do not have the funding to fix Ohio roads, more crashes will happen, and I’m sad to say more people will get hurt and even sadder to say that some people will die," Marchbanks said.
Marchbanks said he’s not recommending anything, but says a 1 cent increase in the gas tax would bring in $67 million dollars. The tax is split with 60 percent for highway construction and 40 percent to local governments to maintain local roads.