New Philadelphia, Ohio (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s engineer is reacting to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s $7.43 billion transportation budget proposal announced earlier this week.
Joe Bachman says the state’s current 28-cent gas tax rate provides the county with $2.8 million per year in street funding. He says DeWine's 18-cent state gas tax increase could give Tuscarawas County’s roads and bridges program a much-needed boost if approved by the legislature.
“If that would happen, that would be a substantial increase, maybe in the tune of a million dollars a year after it’s all enacted,” he says.
Specifically, Bachman says they could use the money to revive the county’s bridge replacement program for the 273 bridges his department is responsible for.
“We pretty much shut that down about three years ago. I think we have one bridge on our schedule, I believe it’s for the year 2021. So more than anything else that would allow us to get back into repairing and maintaining our bridges,” he says.
Bachman says, however, that the scope of the local funding increase will depend on how the governor’s administration plans to distribute the money among local entities. The proposal designates 40 percent of funds collected through the tax for local government use.