For informational/historical purposes only.

The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
November 12, 2003



COLUMBUS (November 12, 2003) Governor Bob Taft's Jobs and Progress Plan today took a major step forward with passage by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of a major new transportation act that significantly increases Ohio's federal transportation revenue.

Governor Taft praised Senator George Voinovich and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for passing the draft legislation that addresses the governor's top federal initiative.

"The Senate committee's enactment of a 95 percent rate of return for Ohio's federal transportation dollars represent a key milestone in our transportation funding agenda," said Taft. "I thank Senator Voinovich for his leadership in the Senate on behalf of Ohio."

The Senate committee action represents further advancement of Governor Taft's transportation agenda. The pending comprehensive energy legislation includes provisions to address the "ethanol penalty" which costs Ohio $160 million in lost transportation funds annually. The energy bill includes language that would still provide strong federal support for ethanol while eliminating the loss in highway funds that Ohio now experiences from using ethanol.

Governor Taft's federal transportation strategy rests on two pillars equity and ethanol. The energy bill represents substantial progress on the ethanol issue, while the Senate action represents substantial progress on the equity issue. Governor Taft announced in August a 10-year, $5 billion Jobs and Progress plan that will provide $500 million annually for transportation capacity projects for Ohio. That plan is funded in part with state motor fuel receipts and in part from the increased federal revenue he is seeking.

"For too long, Ohio has sent more federal highway dollars to Washington than it has received," said Taft. "This committee vote clearly signals that our concerns have been heard in Washington."

The Governor added there is still much to be done before the transportation strategy is fully enacted by Congress. The full Senate must pass the act, as must the House. Final action is not scheduled until early 2004. Likewise, the energy bill remains in a House-Senate conference committee.

"We will continue our strong partnership with the Ohio Congressional delegation and I will not relent on these issues until we resolve them for Ohio," said Governor Taft.

During the past 18 months Taft has met with Ohio's Congressional Delegation and corresponded on several occasions with the Bush administration regarding the importance of increasing federal transportation funding. He has also been an active member of an association of governors working to eliminate the ethanol penalty.

Link to:  Jobs and Progress Plan information