The Ohio House has approved House Bill 26 that would provide $7.8 billion over two years for the state’s transportation and public safety budget. The transportation department would get the bulk of the funds with $6.5 billion.
The legislation would also create the “Variable Speed Limit Pilot Program” which the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) would administer as part of its Smart Mobility Initiative. This program would allow for “variable speed limits on specified highways that differ from the statutory speed limits and criteria for determining the appropriate variable speed limits.” The program would end on Dec. 31, 2018.
For ODOT specifically, HB 26 would provide for $3.31 billion in fiscal year 2018, a 2-percent drop compared to fiscal year 2017. Of that figure, $2.75 billion would go to highway operating, $552.39 million for capital projects and $4.49 million for “dedicated purposes.” Highway construction and maintenance, which pulls from multiple categories, would get $2.88 billion.
For fiscal year 2019, the last year covered in the bill, the total provided would be $3.19 billion, a 3.7-percent decline from the previous year. However, capital projects would see an increase to $395.22 million and highway operating would get a slight bump to $2.78 billion. The decline in funding would hit the “dedicated purposes” category, which would drop to $3.49 million. Highway construction and maintenance would drop to $2.72 billion.
The bill would allow for increases in funding to come from service fee increases.