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Blessing says Two-Year Transportation Budget Provides Major Improvements

Upgrades Rail Safety and Funds Brent Spence Bridge Corridor
March 30, 2023
Louis W. Blessing, III News

COLUMBUS—State Senator Louis W. Blessing, III (R-Colerain Township) says the final version of the state’s new two-year Transportation Budget approved by the Senate today includes crucial improvements to rail safety, and that a key provision will help local governments complete much-needed road maintenance and repair projects. Blessing complimented the bipartisan good faith effort in crafting this important bill.

“It was especially important to secure the funding for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor," said Blessing. "This will improve the quality of life for commuters and residents in the Cincinnati area by reducing traffic congestion and increasing safety."

Key rail safety changes in the $13.5 billion budget include:Requiring wayside detectors to be installed between 10-15 miles apart.
Requiring ODOT and PUCO to oversee proper installation.
Tasking the PUCO to examine best practices for hot boxes, hot bearing detectors, acoustic bearing detectors, and cameras installed on or near railroad tracks. 
“We've learned the hard way, we can't afford the high risk of another catastrophic derailment. These real-time warning systems should dramatically help reduce that risk,” said Blessing. “Rail transportation is vital to our state economy, but the lives and health of our people and communities across Ohio must be our top priority."

The bill also increases force account limits, for the first time in nearly 20 years, to help local governments across the state complete road maintenance and repair projects. “Some of these projects are more than an eyesore, they’re an inconvenience and at times dangerous,” said Senate President Matt Huffman. “People will see the difference.”

The budget also addresses the critical need for funding to repair road slips in rural Ohio. $10 million dollars is funded through the public works commission for emergency slip repair. Overall, the $120 million in grants will fund local road projects over the next two years, helping local governments improve the roads across Ohio.

The Transportation Budget is funded by the state’s Motor Fuel Tax (MFT), more commonly called the gas tax. Read the bill here.