Ohio lawmakers divided on reducing gas tax to provide "some relief" at the pump at the expense of "dangerous roads"

Kristen Walters

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Ohio residents have felt a pinch in their wallets as the price of gas has risen more than $.57 in the past month alone. Due to the ongoing conflict in Europe and US diplomatic sanctions against Russia, the third largest supplier of oil in the global economy, Ohio drivers should not expect gas prices to let up any time soon.

On response to the dramatic increase in gas prices, several Ohio lawmakers, including Senator Steve Huffman who also happens to be running for reelection this year, have proposed a bill that would reduce the state motor fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon of regular gas.

While a ten cent per gallon reduction could provide some immediate relief to drivers at the pump, the Ohio Department of Transportation has argued that cutting the gas tax has long term implications that could affect the safety of Ohio's roadways.

Jack Marchbanks, director of Ohio's Department of Transportation, reported that the agency responsible for maintaining the state's roads is in a "grim financial situation."

While cutting the gas tax to reduce prices at the pump by a few pennies might be a great talking point for politicians who are running for re-election, the tax reduction would cut state revenue by $4 billion. Those funds are used to pay for road construction projects, bridge maintenance, and highway maintenance.

If the Department of Transportation does not have the funds to maintain Ohio's roadways, they argue that "more crashes will happen, people will get hurt, and some will die."

So, it appears that the hard choice the Ohio lawmakers must make is between saving their constituents money at the gas pump, many of whom are struggling financially, or keeping Ohio's roads safe.

Which option would you choose -- money or safety?

Let us know your opinion in the comments.

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