COLUMBUS, Ohio â€“ The Ohio Senate approved its version of a transportation bill that includes a provision to increase the speed limit on the stateâ€™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.
â€śAs 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 Ohioâ€™s improving economy,â€ť Transportation Committee chair Gayle Manning (Râ€“North Ridgeville) said.
The panelâ€™s ranking minority member, Capri Cafaro (Dâ€“Hubbard), lent her approval, saying that the legislation â€śdoes the responsible thing.â€ť
Some projects that can be implemented with the Turnpike bonds were not expected until 2025 will be given immediate consideration.
â€śHouse Bill 51 is unarguably one of the greatest jobs budget we will pass this General Assembly,â€ť 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.