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Better Gas Mileage Could Cripple ODOT

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 9:12 AM

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Members of the group Environment Ohio are touting a new report that says supports the Obama administration's call for vehicles to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But as Sam Hendren from Ohio public radio station WOSU reports, that could mean even more financial woes for the state department of transportation.

At a press conference in Columbus - with a fuel efficient Toyota Prius as a backdrop - Dan Voorhis of the group Environment Ohio said that President Obama’s proposed 54-point-5 miles-per-gallon standard is obtainable.

We have the Prius here that gets an average of 45 miles a gallon … the standards are right there and the technology already there.

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 - ODOT - has seen a reduction in revenue as vehicles become more efficient.  Gene Krebs is a senior director at the Greater Ohio Policy Center.

Department of Transportation director Jerry Wray gave a sobering assessment of his agency’s financial difficulties on Tuesday.  Wray had said earlier this year that ODOT faces more than a billion-and-a-half-dollar budget shortfall.  Greater Ohio’s Gene Krebs says the easy solutions have been implemented … now it’s time for tougher measures…

Billions of dollars in construction projects have been delayed or postponed because of ODOT’s budget difficulties. 

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