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Rep. Russo statement on transportation budget passage

Says bill a step in the right direction to meet the needs of people, businesses, state's economic recovery
March 5, 2021
C. Allison Russo News

COLUMBUS – Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) issued a statement following the passage of House Bill (HB) 74, the state’s two-year transportation budget. Democrats fought against the governor’s proposed cuts to public transit funding in the bill, securing $193.7 million over the next two years, double the governor’s proposed investment. Rep. Russo voted in favor of the bill, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“Transportation is vital to our workforce and is a critical component of our economic well-being,” said Rep. Russo.  “While I am pleased that we secured double the initial public transit funds proposed by the governor, the fact remains that we need to invest significantly more into public transit systems if our economy is to fully benefit from connecting people with jobs, healthcare, food, and vital services.  The initiatives we won today are a good first step, but I am disappointed that our other Democratic proposals, such as additional money for public transit, motor fuel testing quality, and greater transparency of gas tax spending failed to make it into the final bill.” 

Other key Democratic wins in the transportation budget include:

Ensuring fairness and transparency of taxpayer dollars by requiring more highway construction and maintenance projects are subject to competitive bidding;
Removing the governor’s proposed hikes in vehicle registration and other fees to save Ohioans money;
Securing funds for public transit vouchers for victims of domestic violence who need help getting to court, medical appointments and school.

Democrats offered a number of amendments on the House floor Thursday, including an amendment to invest an additional $13 million in public transit funds in each of the next two years and other amendments on motor fuel quality testing and tracking gas tax collection data to see where and how funds are spent. However, Republicans rejected each amendment.