Win historic investments in public transportation, local community support

House Democratic lawmakers today voted in favor of House Bill (HB) 62, the state’s bipartisan, two-year budget that largely funds road and bridge improvements and public transportation throughout the state.

“As a member of the House Finance Committee, we heard hours and hours of testimony relative to the current condition of our roads and bridges,” said Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson). “Compelling arguments were made for the urgency and necessity of this initiative. Governor DeWine even drove home this point in his State of the State address on Tuesday.”

Key Democratic amendments accepted into the final version of HB 62 include:

  • $200 million for public transportation throughout the state over two years – more than a 200-percent increase.
  • 12.5-percent increase for the local community share of new gas tax revenue – a five-percentage-point rate increase.
  • Allow a four-percentage-point increase in Public Works Commission funding for local communities’ capital projects – a 200-percent overall increase in the amount of funding.
  • $4.2 million overall increase in Roadwork Development Fund.
  • $10 million for local community infrastructure impacted by oil and gas exploration heavy equipment.
  • Restore local Emergency Management Association oversight.
  • Remove language restricting gas tax revenue to roads and bridges only.

Democratic amendments would ease some of the burden on local communities, who currently face an estimated $1.5 billion shortfall for road and bridge repairs.

Locally, Rep. Patterson worked with Conneaut City Manager Jim Hockaday to create a Catastrophic Snowfall fund of $250,000 to assist those entities who face budgetary challenges when 18 or more inches of snow accumulate in any one weather event.

“It was my privilege to work with Mr. Hockaday to help relieve the strain on local budgets when such a weather event occurs — and we certainly get our share of them in Northeast Ohio,” Patterson said.

After clearing the House, HB 62 heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Patterson: Dems improve state transportation budget, support its passage