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Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:01 PM

Ohio House, Senate negotiators agree to $70 million for public transit

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Negotiators attempting to hammer out the state’s two-year transportation budget bill have settled on a handful of issues – such as providing public transit $70 million a year.

But other issues remain unresolved – specifically the gas tax rate, whether vehicles should have a front license plate and how much owners of hybrid and electric vehicles should pay in fees.

On Friday evening, the six-member conference committee -- made up of House and Senate members from each political party -- had recessed for the weekend. The committee is expected to adjourn Monday morning.

Heading into the weekend, the following provisions have been decided:

* $70 million for public transit, which will come from the General Revenue Fund. To see how this compares to Gov. Mike DeWine’s and the Ohio House and Senate’s plans for public transit, read here.
* Low-speed electric scooters, such as those operating under the Bird and Lime brands, will not be regulated under the transportation budget, House Bill 62, the conference committee decided. The Ohio House wanted to create statewide regulations, such as prohibiting people under age 16 from operating them. The Senate nixed those regulations, feeling that each city should make its own rules as it sees fit, and the Senate has prevailed.
* Skateboards couldn’t be attached to vehicles.
* Motorcycle hearing protection provisions. The House wanted to clarify in state law that bikers can wear earphones or earplugs for hearing protection, as well as listening to music. The Senate nixed those provisions and prevailed.
* Compressed natural gas vehicle owners would have to pay a motor fuel tax, based on the diesel rate. There is a formula in the bill to convert CNG to gallons. The tax will be phased in over five years.

Read more: https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/03/ohio-house-senate-negotiators-agree-to-70-million-for-public-transit-but-gas-tax-other-issues-unsettled.html

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