COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine signed a $13.5 billion transportation budget into law on Friday afternoon.
While the sum is large, lawmakers, like chair of the House Finance Committee Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), said what makes this historic are the details, and how it all came together.
“We were able to do this large investment without any new tax increase on our people, without any fee increase,” Edwards said. “And really it had input from both the minority and majority party and the house and senate and the governor.”
Of the $13.5 billion of state and federal revenue being invested, $7.5 billion is going to overall state highway improvements.
“Ohio remains the number one state in the nation for highway safety spending per capita,” DeWine said. “And we’re very proud of that.”
The budget also invests $10 million for a statewide transportation study that DeWine said will identify needs that will lead to actionable recommendations.
“Certainly, including between Toledo and Columbus, where it is clear that better transportation plan is needed,” he said.
Rail safety is also a large focus of this bill. Related provisions mandate a two-person crew and increase requirements for wayside detectors on railroads.
“For the first time in over 30 years, today we’re going to put into law real safety regulations after the tragic derailment in East Palestine,” Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake said).
Plus, $3 billion is appropriated for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor in Cincinnati for travel over the Ohio River.
The anticipated total project cost is $3.6 billion, which will be shared by Ohio, Kentucky and the federal government. But DeWine said Ohio is the lead agency in managing the contract, so Ohio’s transportation budget has the appropriations.
“Safe and efficient transportation is key to keeping Ohio on the move,” DeWine said.
The governor signed the transportation budget with no vetoes, something he said he’s never done since taking office. It goes into effect July 1.