OHIIO – Despite an increase recently in the Ohio gas tax, COVID has put a major dent in the expected revenue increase. When the state originally introduced the increased gas tax by 10.5 cents to 38.5 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by 19 cents to 47 cents a gallon, it was expected to raise 850 million dollars a year in tax revenue. At the height of COVID miles driven reduced by more than 50% the previous year. By the end of December ODOT reported average traffic volume was still down 15%. The director of ODOT still expects the lower traffic volumes to continue through the next several years, as more people are switching to work from home. ODOT is projecting an additional reduction of $325 in gas tax revenue over the next two fiscal years.
ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks recommended in his October budget proposal that the state stop taking applications for all new major projects in the state’s next biennial budget due to reduced gas-tax receipts. However, projects already underway would continue forward under ODOT’s existing two-year, $6.4 billion budget that has been submitted to Gov Dewine and the state. ODOT has said that their proposal is not final and that the governor’s office could make changes before they submit their final spending plan to the statehouse.