Governor DeWine needs to find new road construction funding

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TOLEDO - (WTVG) - One of the big issues Governor Mike DeWine will face this year is funding for major highway projects.

The state has run out of money for new road-construction work.

Ohio spent nearly $2-billion over the last four years on road work, funded mainly by a Turnpike bond which has now ended.

But state roads and bridges need repair or reconstruction. The question is: How to fund that work?

If there is not enough money many projects may be delayed.

One place to get money is from drivers. Ohio has a .28 state gas tax per gallon of gasoline sold.

It hasn't been increased since 2005.

The Lucas County Engineer's office would support a gas tax hike.

Mike Pniewski, Deputy Lucas County Engineer, says, "Construction costs have been going up the last 14 years and the funning for them hasn't been going up."

And Ohio's neighboring states have higher gas taxes.

Pennsylvania's is .49 cents a gallon. Michigan's is .44 cents. Indiana's is .43 cents. West Virginia has a gas tax of .36 cents.

We talked with drivers who say a .10 or .15 cent hike works for them if the money is going to road and bridge work.

One driver told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, a small increase would be a small investment.

Others think a hike will hurt.

Ben Bergman says even a dime more a gallon is a big difference in what you pay at the pump.

Virginia Mitchell says, "That would be very devastating for some people."

Every penny increase in the gas tax would generate $70-million in road revenue.

But at less than $2-dollars a gallon for gas maybe now is the time to pass a gas tax hike.

Afaf Barakat says, "I'm on board. you agree you'll pay the extra dime. I agree, yeah, I will."

Projects like the Dorr Street Interchange are already funded as is work you see already underway.

Governor DeWine wants a special panel to look into road funding.

A gas tax hike seems likely, maybe up to 15-cents.

But toll hikes on the turnpike and even fees for electric cars could also be in the mix.

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