For informational/historical purposes only.

The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
November 19, 2003



COLUMBUS (November 19, 2003) - Governor Bob Taft commended yesterdays House action to pass an energy bill and todays House introduction of a new transportation act, and said the energy bill will help Ohio in its effort to attract ethanol producers to the state. The House-passed energy bill sets as a goal doubling the amount of ethanol used nationally.

In March 2002, Taft signed a bill to create new incentives to lure ethanol producers to Ohio, and the Ohio Departments of Development and Agriculture have been aggressively pursuing these opportunities. "Ohio is the largest consumer of ethanol that does not produce it in-state," said Governor Taft. "Increased demand for ethanol will assist us in attracting ethanol producers, which would help our farmers and agriculture business."

Taft did express disappointment the bill did not eliminate the ethanol penalty. However, he did note that Ohios Congressional delegation has worked hard to eliminate the penalty, and that there was a Congressional commitment to address the issue in next years transportation act. "The strong efforts of Ohios delegation advanced this issue and brought it to the nations attention," Taft said. "We are hopeful that their efforts will result in the penaltys elimination in next years transportation bill."

The 1,100-page energy act also creates a new tax credit that allows ethanol blenders to take an income tax credit instead of taking the current fuel-tax break. Although this method will not eliminate all lost highway revenues, it is expected to reduce the current loss to the Highway Trust Fund.

Also today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released details of its proposed transportation action which calls for a dramatic increase in federal transportation revenue. The bill would increase Ohios annual federal allocation from the current $950 million to as much as $1.9 billion annually.

"We are still in the very early in the reauthorization process, but the bill the House introduced today represents a strong intent by many in Congress to address Ohios transportation needs," said Taft. "I commend Congressmen LaTourette and Ney and the House committees strong commitment to transportation infrastructure investment."

Earlier this month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed legislation that would increase states rate of return in federal transportation funding. "Thanks to Senator George Voinovichs leadership, if the bill is enacted, Ohios could receive an additional $300 million in federal transportation funding annually," Taft said.

In August, Taft unveiled a 10-year, $5 billion Jobs and Progress plan that will provide $500 million annually for transportation 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.

Link to:  Jobs and Progress Plan information