Posts Tagged ‘Ohio House Finance Committee’

Ohio House Committee Boosts Public Transit Funding

March 2, 2021

Gov. Mike DeWine’s efforts to slash funding of public transit failed to survive a markup session  by a House committee.

The House Finance Committee last week voted to provide $97 million annually for public transportation, a number far above the $7.3 million recommended by DeWine.

The funding approved by the committee includes $23.2 million in federal “flex” funding.

The previous state budget allocated $63 million for public transit funding.

The transportation budget is still subject to further work by the committee and still must be approved by the full House before it moves on to the Senate.

House Speaker Bob Cupp said the House plans to vote on the transportation budget this week.

State law requires the legislature to approve a transportation budget by March 31.

DeWine suffered two other defeats from the House committee when it voted to remove a proposed $10 increase in the state’s annual vehicle registration fee and removed a provision increasing penalties for drivers who use cell phones while driving.

The governor sought the increase in vehicle fees to raise an additional $127 million a year for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Committee members who opposed the increase said now is the wrong time to impose new costs on drivers.

DeWine has been pushing since February 2020 a proposal he called “Hands Free Ohio” to crack down on cell phone use while driving.

His original proposal failed to advance in the legislature in the last session so it was introduced as part of the transportation budget this year.

State Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), the chairman of the finance committee, cited precedent in removing the distracted driving provision.

He said legislators “generally try not to put anything dealing with criminal law” into state budget bills.

Cupp said the distracted driving measure will be introduced as a standalone bill later in the session.