COLUMBUS – State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) champions House Bill 23, a historic transportation budget investing $12.6 billion into the state’s infrastructure. The legislation passed the Ohio House chamber Wednesday with strong bipartisan support 74-21.
Ghanbari, who serves on the House Finance Committee, and the Finance Subcommittee on Public Safety, served a key role in vetting the legislation, which is the largest commitment of highway infrastructure spending in Ohio history in order to fund the state’s transportation system over the next two years.
“Improving our state’s infrastructure and public safety remains a top priority” said Ghanbari, who is also a legislative appointee to the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission. “This transportation budget will have tremendous impact, not only for improving our infrastructure, it will create jobs and attract more businesses to Ohio. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to represent the district on this important committee.”
Other key components of the bill include:
- Funding $2.2 billion for pavement, $717 million for bridges, $360 million for dedicated safety upgrades, and $1.5 billion for large, capacity adding projects like those that are reconfiguring our urban interstates.
- Creating the Rural Highway Fund, $1 billion in new money focused solely on projects that add capacity or reduce commute times to employment centers in counties that do not have a municipality over 65,000 residents.
- Providing reliable transportation routes for workers in rural parts of the state who otherwise might be forced to relocate in order to gain employment.
- Finding faster ways to connect areas of the state by funding the Strategic Transportation and Development Analysis to study links between Columbus and Sandusky and Columbus and Toledo.
- Investing $14 million to establish the Ohio Workforce Mobility Partnership Program, which allows one or more regional transit authorities (RTA) to work together to provide service for the workforce between the territories and supporting the employment needs of economically significant employment centers.
- Requiring the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) and the Environmental Protection Agency to create and submit a report to the General Assembly within 90 days of the effective date on the transportation of hazardous materials and waste in the state.
- Mandating that an operator be notified of a wayside detector system defect. Requires DOT and PUCO to ensure the messages are sent.
- Requiring that a train must have a two-person crew related solely for safety.
- Allowing law enforcement to use tinted vehicle windows for "purposes within the scope of their duties" versus cases-by-case authorization.
- Preventing park districts being pulled into an improvement district without consent to standardize the practice used by other local government entities.
- Clarifying that the prohibition of counties and townships using traffic cameras applies only to enforcement or red light or speeding violations and not the detection and enforcement of criminal offenses.
- Allowing for the permanent registration of noncommercial trailers.
- Reduces the registration fee for a plug-in hybrid vehicle from $200 to $100 effective January 1, 2024.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration and deliberations.