The Ohio House of Representatives today unanimously passed Substitute House Bill 53, the state’s transportation budget.
“I was very pleased to see both sides of the aisle come together unanimously to support this piece of legislation as we move forward to address our state’s transportation needs,” said Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), who sponsored the legislation and who also chairs the Transportation Subcommittee of the House Finance Committee.
The bill allocates vital funding to improve Ohio’s infrastructure and economy. It provides more than $3.4 billion annually over the next two years for making improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure and safety services. Over the biennium, the bill appropriates $5.04 billion for highway construction and maintenance.
Among other provisions, Sub. H.B. 53:
- Reinstates the Ohio Rail Development Commission and eliminates language governing the division of freight in ODOT
- Appropriates $450,000 per year for the Department of Public Safety to purchase driving simulators
- Strengthens standards for Ohio’s driver-training schools and instructors
- Creates the Joint Legislative Task Force on Department (ODOT) Funding
- Requires deputy registrars to accept payment in the form of credit or debit cards by July 1, 2016, and prohibits any additional charges for a financial transaction device from being added to the total cost
- Increases from 10 to 25 the percentage of total project cost that a transportation improvement district can receive from the state
- Increases the project threshold for which a county engineer can utilize design-build from $1.5 million to $5 million
- Provides an additional $114 million over two years for local transportation projects
House Bill 53 will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. By law, the transportation budget must be signed into law by March 31st.