Ohio lawmakers April 2 reached a deal to increase the state gas tax by 10.5 cents-per-gallon and the diesel tax by 19 cents-per-gallon, and implement annual registration fees of $200 for electric motor vehicles and $100 for plug-in hybrid motor vehicles. The measure, which takes effect July 1, is expected to generate an additional $865 million annually.
The compromise emerged from a joint conference committee that convened after the House and Senate missed the March 31 deadline to pass a transportation budget. The final measure falls short of Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) original $1.2 billion proposal with an 18 cents-per-gallon increase. House Bill 62 was approved the same day the conference committee adjourned with a vote of 70-27 by the House and 22-10 by the Senate, both with bipartisan support.
Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks warned lawmakers on Feb. 21 that the state was facing an “impending transportation crisis” and would be unable to complete highway improvement projects without new revenue. Marchbanks estimated the department’s transportation funding gap at $1 billion.
Ohio is the third state to increase its gas tax in 2019, and the 30th since 2013 to increase or adjust the user fee for increased transportation revenue. The state last voted for a gas tax increase in 2003, with the implementation in 2005.
The measure now goes to Gov. DeWine, who has indicated his support of the bill.
Update: Gov. DeWine signed House Bill 62 into law on April 3.