Man estimates DeWine gas hike proposal will cost him $19k a year

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PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is asking lawmakers to pass a major gas tax to fix roads and bridges across the state as part of his State of the State address Tuesday.

He said with every month that goes by, crashes and deaths will go up.

But his proposed fix will cost us all, and many drivers tell us they simply can't afford it.

DeWine’s proposal would add an extra 18 cents a gallon to a tax which currently sits at 28 cents a gallon.

"If your constituents think the roads are bad now, you haven't seen anything yet if we take no action," he said.

For someone who fills up 10 gallons a week like Nerva Hessler, it's an extra $94 a year.

"It means something because I'm on a fixed income,” she said. “So that means quite a bit."

For someone who uses 20 gallons a week, it's an extra $187 a year.

Kenny Short owns a small trucking company and needs about 300 gallons a day between his three trucks.

"I think it's outrageous,” Short said.

His total estimated cost annually is almost $20,000, a cost likely passed on to products we use every day.

"Do the math,” Short said. “Yeah, it falls back on everybody else's back."

He said West Virginia and Kentucky prices are usually a bit higher, but competitive. If it passes, that changes.

"Ohio so far has been a little bit cheaper, but now we'll have to go somewhere else," he adds.

As for the payoff, there’s unanimous agreement.

"The roads need it, no doubt," Short said.

"The roads in Ohio need fixed,” Hessler added. “They are bad."

Short would like a tax break for small businesses.

Hessler said she could afford a 10-cent hike. But higher prices at the pump will force her to make changes elsewhere.

"I'll cut back. I'll have to cut back," she said. "Every penny makes a difference."

"I'd rather keep my money home than spend it somewhere else, but you gotta do what you gotta do," Short said.

If passed, the hike is expected to generate an extra $1.2 billion a year. It would be split between ODOT and local government. As we told you last week, it would nearly double Lawrence County’s share from $2.4 million to $4.2 million, resulting in enough revenue to pave an extra 25 miles of road.

The last time Ohio raised its tax was 14 years ago.

Kentucky lawmakers are considering a 10-cent hike from its current 26 cents a gallon.

West Virginia's taxes sit at nearly 36 cents.

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