What Progressives Should Know
- Ohio’s Gas tax – a flat 28-cents per gallon – is low compared to our neighboring states, has not increased since 2005, and is not indexed for inflation.
- While the miles Ohio drivers travel each year steadily increases, gas tax revenues are flat thanks to lower fuel consumption.
- Ohio’s gas tax is shared with local governments according to a formula. A 1 cent increase in the state gas tax would generate around $43 million in additional revenue for ODOT, and $24 million to be divided up among counties, townships, cities and villages.
- Ohio is 11th in mass transit usage but 45th in state support, spending just $.67 per capita compared to $9 in Michigan and $86 in Pennsylvania. ODOT has estimated the state needs to be spending about $150 million per year on transit. The last state budget spent just $39.5 million on transit, $80 million below what the state itself says is needed.
- Article XII of the Ohio Constitution limits the expenditure of gas tax revenue to the state’s highway and bridges – pedestrian, bike and transit infrastructure are unlikely to directly benefit from any increase that is passed.
- The gas tax is regressive, meaning that low income people pay more taxes as a share of their income than people who earn more.
What Progressives should demand
- A balanced solution that looks at a range of revenue sources to fix our immediate needs, and a commitment to look longer-term at the state’s transportation future with an eye toward a future less dependent on gas taxes
- Incentives that decrease, not increase, the consumption of polluting fossil fuels
- A multi-modal approach to moving people and goods that recognizes that transit, rail, air, bike and pedestrian infrastructure can all work to reduce congestion on our roadways
- A less regressive tax system in which the system is funded by users according to both their system use and ability to pay
- A commitment by state leaders to aggressively lobby the federal government to address the shortfall in the federal highway trust fund.