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County engineers urge House to get creative
2/14/2013 7:34:00 PM
By Press Release
— Ohio’s county engineers called upon the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee to be creative and find a way to increase funding to repair and replace the counties aging roads and bridges.
In testimony before the subcommittee on Friday, Feb. 15, County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO) Executive Director Fredrick B. Pausch said, “This committee has numerous ways to funnel money to the local roads that county engineers attempt to maintain, which won’t raise taxes and insures more money going directly to county roads and bridge improvements.”
Pausch cited a 2008 report from the Federal Highway Administration that stated that Ohio ranks 5th in the nation in the number of local bridges classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
“Recent surveys have concluded that $770 million is needed for critical repairs to more than 6,000 Ohio county bridges with deficient ratings,” said Pausch. “Currently, Ohio’s 29,088 plus miles of county roads require more than $230 million annually in resurfacing costs alone. However, the federal gas tax hasn’t been increased since 1993, and Ohio’s state gas tax has not been increased since 2003.”
Since 2003, the cost for hotmix asphalt alone has risen from $27/ton to $74/ton, a 270% increase. Also, county engineers have been hit with a 214% increase in reinforcing steel costs and a 70% increase in redi-mix concrete, according to Pausch.
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As more and more fuel-efficient cars travel Ohio’s roads, their owners are paying less in per/gallon gas taxes. CEAO asks the state to study alternative sources of funds such as a vehicle-miles traveled tax study (VMT).
Pausch noted that Missouri, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan and Texas are coming up with new ways to fund infrastructure needs into the future.
“Why is Ohio falling behind in evaluating new efforts on transportation funding?” he asked. “Our state should be doing better and we can no longer wait for the federal government to come to the rescue.”
Other issues the CEAO asked the Subcommittee to address include:
1. Distribution to local governments’ revenues from the recent CAT Tax Case,
2. Borrowing/bonding against the Ohio Turnpike,
3. Changing language in ORC 5577.99 overweight fines.
Since 1940, the County Engineers Association of Ohio has worked to unify its members in their goal to provide the highest quality transportation, drainage, surveying and land record keeping services. County engineers are responsible for 26,900 bridges and 29,088 miles of urban and rural roadways that are vital to the combined growth and prosperity in the state of Ohio. All travel starts and ends on a local road.
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