Talk of Ohio gas tax met with support and dismay

Local News

Leaders with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office said Thursday that they need an 18 cent per gallon gas tax to make up for budget shortfalls with the Ohio Department of Transportation and other agencies to fix roads and highways.

The idea of a price hike at the pump isn’t sitting well with many, while others think it would be worth it to help repair infrastructure in the state.

“I would like the roads fixed, but why do we have to pay for it? Why is it our duty? I mean, I already have to pay for my car to get fixed,” said Ashely Reyes of Youngstown.

Jack Marchbanks, director of ODOT, said revenue for the gas tax in the first year equates to roughly $1.2 billion.

Right now, Ohio collects 28 cents a gallon in taxes. The new proposal would flip that to 46 cents — the second highest in this part of the country.

While the increase would mean an extra $2 or $3 dollars a tankful, some think that compared with the average cost for a new wheel alignment or the cost of the new tires from hitting potholes, it may be worth it. 

We checked local prices for some of the most common repairs caused by potholes and damaged roads, and they amount to the following:

  • Alignment – $70-$100
  • Tires: $100-$300 (basic)
  • Tire Patches: $20-$25
  • Rims – $100-$500 (basic) $500 – $1000+ (aluminum/alloy)
  • Sway Bars – $100-$200

“Everyone needs to drive and get from place to place. You have to get to work. Either you are going to pay for the gas or you are going to pay for maintenance on a car,” said Fred Adams of Youngstown.

While the lion’s share of any increase will go to the state, counties will split 10 percent of what’s raised or roughly $1.1 million if the proposed tax hike is approved by lawmakers.

Some argue that the funding formula isn’t fair since all 88 counties would get the same amount regardless of how big they are or how many miles they maintain.

“For example, Columbiana County has 150 road miles. Mahoning County has close to 500. We get the exact same amount,” said Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler.

Ditzler says any amount will help. The county could use $70 million to address all its road and bridge issues.

The state would like to put its tax hike in effect July 1.

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