AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — As we’re now shelling out north of $5 a gallon for gas and around $6 for diesel, those depending on fuel taxes to pave our roads aren’t getting anything more.
“The state and federal gas tax are flat fees so regardless of what the cost of gas is we’re getting the same amount per gallon,” said Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.
Right now we pay almost 18.5 cents per gallon in federal taxes. In Ohio, it’s 38.5 cents for gasoline and 47 cents for diesel. Pennsylvania charges even more for both.
Ohio’s 88 county engineers split a portion of what’s brought in with the lion’s share going to ODOT. But Ginnetti said the rising prices affect not only his fuel budget but also what his office pays for products like asphalt and plastic pipes for sewer and water projects that are petroleum-based.
“How do you account for that and how do you plan for it? It starts chipping away at other areas so you gotta cut back somewhere else,” said Ginnetti.
Although the county’s paving program won’t start until later this summer, Ginnetti says the price for asphalt has already doubled last year’s figures.
While a new sales tax levy passed last Nov. is expected to bring in $8 to $9 million a year — more and more of that money is now likely to go toward fuel and things like asphalt which will affect a lot of road projects the county has planned.
“Our estimates from last Nov. to today are drastically different because of the costs so right now the project is almost half of what we anticipated,” said Ginnetti.
For now, Ginnetti says he can only hope Washington can bring inflation under control before things get worse.