Testimony on Amendment (SC-2559) to House Bill 59, the 2014-2015 Biennium Budget
Before the Senate Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Schaffer and members of the committee: Thank you for allowing me to testify before you today. My name is Tim Piper and I am the Allen County Engineer in Lima, Ohio and the current President of the County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO). I would like to testify on behalf of our eighty-eight county engineers in support of the amendment (SC-2559) to HB 59 regarding the disbursement of revenues from the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) on motor fuels.
CAT TAX REVENUE ON MOTOR FUELS
As you know, the Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that monies collected from the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (CAT tax) on motor fuels may only be used for highway purposes. Historically, taxes on motor fuels have been shared among all government agencies including counties, townships and municipalities. We strongly support the amendment (SC-2559) before your committee that would divide the remaining revenue from the CAT tax on motor fuel in equal portions to counties, townships and municipalities, after payment of required debt service on state-issued infrastructure bonds used by the Public Works Commission.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MAINTAIN MAJORITY OF ROADS & BRIDGES IN OHIO
Please consider the following facts about local roads and bridges:
Counties, townships and municipalities maintain 83% of all centerline road miles in Ohio;
Our current cycle of paving local roads is only once every 30 years;
Our cost to pave one mile of road, 20 feet wide, has increased from $23,845 in 2002 to $65,400 in 2012, almost tripling in cost in eleven years.
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Ohio is 2nd in the nation for total number of bridges with only Texas having more bridges;
County engineers maintain 60% of the 44,900 public bridges in Ohio;
Of all the bridges in Ohio needing to be replaced immediately, 85% of those bridges are county maintained bridges
ODOT is replacing 1.5 bridges annually for every bridge they have closed or posted with weight limits;
However, county engineers are replacing only 0.10 bridges annually for every bridge they have posted with weight limits or closed;
Since more bridges are posted or closed each year, county engineers will never catch up on our backlog of bridges closed or posted with weight limits at our current level of funding.
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LOCAL ROADS HAVE MORE CRASHES & FATALITIES
Also, please consider the following facts about crashes in Ohio:
2011 ODOT Crash Data shows that 72% of annual crashes in Ohio occurred on local roads;
In 2011, 54% of crash fatalities occurred on local roads.
Many of our local roads need to be widened or improved to safely handle increased traffic and reduce crashes and fatalities. After all, every trip begins and ends on a local road.
CONVENTIONAL GAS TAX REVENUE DECLINING
Our current fuel tax revenue for our local governments continues to decline. I would like to draw your attention to the attached chart on page 6 that shows that our eighty-eight county engineers as a whole received $11 million dollars less in fuel tax in 2012 than we did in 2008. (Source: Ohio Dept. of Taxation) Counties have lost 1.3% per year in fuel tax for the past four years due to less fuel consumption and more fuel-efficient vehicles. That trend of decreased fuel usage is expected to continue.
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On behalf of our eighty-eight county engineers, we respectfully ask that you consider approving the amendment (SC-2559) before your committee that would divide the remaining revenue from the CAT tax on motor fuel in equal portions to counties, townships and municipalities in Ohio who are in dire need of revenue for road and bridge work. Thank you for your attention to our concerns on this issue. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
The 2013 Road Progam, 4-22-13
In 2013, over $1.7 million dollars will be spent for county, township & village road work. Our county road crews and our paving contractor will be very busy paving 14.2 miles of county, township and village roads and sealing 56 miles of roads; sealing is another name for tar & chip application to the surface of the roadway. Seal acts as a water sealant to keep pavement from absorbing water.
Click here to view the 2013 Road Program
The 2012/2013 Annual Report is Here
Click here to view the annual report.
Tim Piper & Mike Howbert Present at ONU True North Surveyors' Workshop, 4-11-13
Click here to view the presentation on Allen County Survey Records and the Allen County GIS.
Shawnee Road Bridge & Roundabout Project
Click here for more information.
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