COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — The Ohio Senate approved the state’s new two-year transportation budget, which includes crucial improvements to rail safety, on Thursday.

Passed by the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support, House Bill 23 provides funding for the Ohio Department of Transportation, Public Works Commission and the Department of Development. 

The nearly $13.5 billion transportation budget is funded with Ohio’s gas tax revenue. It funds road, highway and bridge projects around the state.

Below are some items in the Senate-passed version of the bill:

Critical safety provisions for railroad safety: Requires wayside detectors to be installed 10-15 miles apart and requires the Ohio Department of Transportation and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to oversee proper installation. It tasks the PUCO to examine best practices for hot boxes, hot bearing detectors, acoustic bearing detectors and cameras installed on or near railroad tracks. 

Brent Spence Bridge Corridor: Contains many provisions to address the needs of this once-in-a-lifetime project. Ohio will be the lead fiscal agent on this project, and once it reaches completion, drivers will have a safer and more efficient drive, ensuring the infrastructure will be in place to support Ohio’s economy.

Providing for local road projects: The Public Works Commission, which provides funding and grants for local road projects, was funded at over $120 million over the upcoming biennium. This affords local governments the opportunity to improve the roadways within their jurisdiction.

Fixing dangerous pavement slips: Provides an additional $10 million for the Public Works Commission for emergency road-slip repair.

Increases transparency for local governments: Creates three separate line items to show how much gas tax revenue goes to counties, municipalities and townships for their roadwork and repairs.

House Bill 23 now proceeds to the House of Representatives.