Gas tax hike could help fix roads - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Gas tax hike could help fix roads

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Toledo  has worked up its road improvements budget for this year.  It is about the same as last year but there is one way to get more money to fix roads and bridges.

It is not a popular way and we’d all pay it every time we tapped the gas pump.

Toledo has 1,100 miles of roads and you will find potholes, everywhere.

This year, the city will spend $17.6 million fixing roads and bridges but only $6.5 million paving and sealing city roads.

Toledo’s finance director, George Sarantou, says, “It’s never enough in terms of streets but it’s an excellent start and the administration is committed to getting as many streets as we can paved.”

This year, that means paving about 50-miles of road.  The city could have paved more miles of roads if it had more money.

But lawmakers needed $14-milllion from the capital improvement budget to balance the city’s budget.

Councilman Mike Craig (D) sees that raiding that budget has affected road repair, saying, “In general, we need to put more towards our paving budget.”

One way to do that, the councilman says, is raising the state’s gas tax.

Right now, Ohio’s gas tax is 28-cents a gallon.  If you raise the tax another 5-cents a gallon, Toledo could collect another $500,000 dollars for road repair.

Drivers are mixed on paying a higher fee.

Cleo Smidi told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, “I don’t think (raising the gas tax is) a good idea cause you’re killing us with the gas prices then.”

Joe Edwards says, “It will be bad for me by being on a fixed income.”

But Cheryl Jones would be willing to pay another 5-cents a gallon saying, “That would beat having to pay $200 to have your car realigned or axle fixed.”

Ohio could help by giving back to cities some of that $1.5 billion rainy day fund.

Or Toledo lay off fire and police to save money.

But neither of those are likely and don’t expect the six districts to evenly split that $6-million in road money.

That’s where the rubber meets the road, which district will get more, which will get less.