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More Fuel Efficient Cars Mean Less Revenue For ODOT
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A group known as Environment Ohio released a report Wednesday backing the Obama Administrationâ€™s proposed auto fuel efficiency standards. Those standards call for an average of 54.5 miles per gallon for vehicles by 2025. But better fuel economy means a decline in revenue for the state department of transportation.
At a press conference in Columbus, with a fuel efficient Toyota Prius as a backdrop, Dan Van Voorhis of the group Environment Ohio said that President Obamaâ€™s proposed 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard is obtainable.
â€œWe have the Prius here that gets an average of 45 miles a gallon,â€ Van Voorhis said. â€œThe standards are right there and the technology is already there.â€
The group says cutting oil consumption has a host of benefits including the reduction of global warming pollution.
But there is a downside at least for the time-being. The financially troubled Ohio Department of Transportation â€“ ODOT â€“ has seen a reduction in revenue as vehicles become more efficient. Gene Krebs is a senior director at the Greater Ohio Policy Center.
â€œOhioâ€™s Department of Transportation is funded almost entirely at the state level through a gasoline tax which is dependent upon the volume of gasoline used, not the price of it,â€ Krebs says. â€œWhat that means is that as your consumption goes down, the amount of dollars received by ODOT goes down.â€
Department of Transportation director Jerry Wray gave a sobering assessment of his agencyâ€™s financial difficulties on Tuesday. Wray had said earlier this year that ODOT faces more than $1.5 billion budget shortfall.
Greater Ohioâ€™s Gene Krebs says the easy solutions have been implemented. Now itâ€™s time for tougher measures.
â€œAll the solutions that are left are very difficult; and frankly very ugly,â€ Krebs says. But at least now, because Director Wray has admitted they have a problem, we can start having that discussion.â€
Billions of dollars in construction projects have been delayed or postponed because of ODOTâ€™s budget difficulties.