COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Senate signed off on its version of a $7.8 billion biennial budget for the Ohio Department of Transportation and a handful of other state agencies Wednesday, sending the legislation to a conference committee to hash out differences with the Ohio House.
The transportation budget passed on a vote of 33-0. The House and Senate are expected to finalize the legislation in coming days, sending it to Gov. John Kasich for his review and signature prior to the end of the month.
The transportation budget is separate from the larger state operating budget and includes funding for the maintenance and improvement of Ohio's roads and other infrastructure.
" Transportation affects every single Ohioan -- every family, every business, anyone who conducts commerce or lives or travels through this state is impacted by the decisions that we make in this transportation budget," said Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), who serves as chairman of the committee that considered the legislation.
Among other changes from the version of the transportation budget earlier approved by the Ohio House, senators opted to solidify "at least $33 million" in state funding each fiscal year for public transportation programs, shift $30 million in Volkswagen emissions settlement money for transit upgrades, and divert $48 million in motor fuel tax receipts to local road and bridge projects.
The amended legislation also would require counties to seek voter approval to impose an additional $5 local vehicle registration fee, rather than allowing commissioners to attempt to move the increase on their own. The proceeds from that permissive increase would be directed to road and bridge projects.