Ohio Gas Tax still important for highway funding
Long the primary means of funding Ohio roads and bridges, the gas tax has become a declining source of revenue. The Ohio gas tax was increased to 28-cents per gallon in 2005 and remains at that level today. The 18.4-cent federal gas tax hasn’t changed since 1993. In the meantime, construction costs have increased along with most other goods and services. Because of inflation, a dollar simply doesn’t buy what it used to.
Additionally, more efficient automobiles deliver higher miles-per-gallon, reducing fuel consumption and therefore gas tax revenue overall. While the gas tax has served Ohio’s roads and bridges well for many years, it may not be the primary revenue source in the future.
There are many alternatives for funding Ohio’s infrastructure. Options include indexing the gas tax to inflation, creating a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax, increasing license plate and registration fees, and developing more Public-Private Partnerships for construction projects. All are valid and merit discussion.
As Ohio plans for the future of its infrastructure, should some version of a gas tax be part of the conversation? Definitely! Can it be an important part of the long term solution? Absolutely! Future funding of Ohio’s infrastructure will require a combination of revenue streams. Because of its long history and inherent fairness – you pay tax on the amount of fuel you use – the gas tax should be a part of the plan.