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Accelerating toward 70 mph in the Statehouse

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate approved its version of a transportation bill that includes a provision to increase the speed limit on the state’s highways and a plan to finance road construction work with Ohio Turnpike bonds.

Senators passed the two-year $7.6 billion plan to fund the Ohio Departments of Transportation and Public Safety after making changes to the House-passed bill, which will require a conference committee to work out the differences.

One provision increases the highway speed limit to 70 mph, outside of urban areas.

One of the changes made by a Senate panel is the so-called Nexus Provision, which ensures that 90 percent of the funds raised through the $1.5 billion in bonds issued on the Turnpike will be used within 75 miles of the turnpike.

Supporters of the bond plan, including Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), say the plan will create 65,000 construction jobs.

“As we invest in our infrastructure, we do more than build better roads, we create a pathway for new businesses, we employ construction workers, and we contribute to the health of Ohio’s improving economy,” Transportation Committee chair Gayle Manning (R–North Ridgeville) said.

The panel’s ranking minority member, Capri Cafaro (D–Hubbard), lent her approval, saying that the legislation “does the responsible thing.”

Some projects that can be implemented with the Turnpike bonds were not expected until 2025 will be given immediate consideration.

“House Bill 51 is unarguably one of the greatest jobs budget we will pass this General Assembly,” Manning said.

Among the bill’s other provisions:

Lowering the late fee for vehicle registration from $20 to $10.

Allowing for the multi-year registration of certain vehicles.

Requiring a stop sign at all railroad crossings where lights or gates do not exist.

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