COLUMBUS – After passing the biennium transportation budget through the Ohio House of Representatives earlier in the month, State Representative Angie King (R-Celina) has supported the updated version of the budget after the House and Senate conferenced this week to work out the final details.
The transportation budget is committing $13.6 billion dollars towards the state’s highway infrastructure and also includes several changes to spending law to make it easier to local governments.
One of the changes to the budget is to raise the statutory limits on force accounts, which currently pose significant financial challenges for maintaining local roads and bridges.
This change will allow for local governments to take care of their own transportation infrastructure needs without the need to open-up the construction projects to private companies. This will be possible by increasing the account limits counties are allowed to repair to reflect current inflation rates after nearly no change to force accounts over the past 20 years.
“Adjustments to how force accounts can be applied will in the end help save taxpayer dollars and speed up the time of construction projects,” King said. “Now counties will be able to provide more efficiently for their residents.”
The general assembly has also added railroad and public safety additions to the legislation to address the recent train derailment in East Palestine, including a two-person crew to operate a train on Ohio’s rail lines, wayside side detectors positioned every 10 miles and train conductors informed of any wayside detector defects on their route. Ohio railroad tracks must also be outfitted with hot boxes and hot bearing detectors, acoustic bearing detectors and cameras installed on or alongside railroad tracks.
The budget will now head to the governor’s office for a final consideration before being signed into law.
King was elected in November 2022 to the Ohio House of Representatives. She represents the 84th House District, serving residents of Mercer, Darke and Auglaize counties.