Ohio lawmakers continue to work behind closed doors on hammering out an agreement over how much to increase the state’s gas tax. The money would go toward the Ohio Department of Transportation's road construction projects, which face a funding shortfall of $1 billion.
Gov. Mike DeWine wants an 18-cent increase on a gallon of gas, tied to inflation. The Ohio House has approved an increase at 10.7 cents. The Ohio Senate has proposed a 6-cent increase. Neither the House or Senate would tie the increase to inflation.
Senate spokesman John Fortney says taxpayers have their own ideas.
“Certainly, a lot of calls, the majority of calls that have come into the Senate offices, have been overwhelmingly against a major increase in the gas tax," Fortney says.
In a written statement Thursday, DeWine said he's come to an agreement with the House on a plan and he hopes the Senate will go along with it.
"I'm pleased that we have reached an agreement with the Speaker of the House on the transportation budget that will enable the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve and maintain safer roads, bridges, highways, and intersections across Ohio," DeWine wrote.
The deal includes an 11-cent-per-gallon increase on the gas tax, and a 20-cent-per-gallon increase for diesel. A joint Senate-House committee was scheduled to meet Thursday evening to iron out differences in the plans, but that's meeting has been delayed several times.
Somehow, DeWine and both chambers of the legislature will need to agree on something in the coming hours. The transportation budget has to be approved and signed by Sunday.