Ohio DOT expands funding for local road traffic safety projects

The state will now cover 100% of local highway safety project costs

February 05, 2020
Ohio DOT expands funding for local transportation safety projects
Image: Ohio DOT

Thanks to the recent increase in the state motor vehicle fuel tax, the Ohio DOT (ODOT) says it is making it easier for local governments to fund much-needed road traffic safety improvements.

Until now, ODOT required a 10% local contribution for safety projects. Under new guidance intended to remove barriers when applying for funds, ODOT announced the state will now cover 100% of the project costs. The increased costs to ODOT will be funded through the additional revenue provided by last year’s fuel tax increase in the state—which allows the state to infuse an additional $50 million into Ohio’s highway safety program. 

Safety improvements—such as adding turn lanes, reconstructing rural curves, and upgrading signs, signals, and pavement markings—are eligible for the funding. Funding requests typically range from $200,000 to $5 million, though the department will consider funding requests up to $10 million.

"This level of commitment to safety is a new high water mark for ODOT. In my many years in and around the department, this is the first time we’ve offered all local governments 100% funding of safety projects," ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said in a statement.

An analysis of crashes in Ohio from 2009 to 2018 found that 63% of all deadly and serious injury crashes occurred on roadways maintained by local governments.

ODOT is also dedicating an additional $10 million to the state's Pedestrian Safety Improvement Program. These investments will improve safety for Ohioans traveling on foot or by bicycle in the state's largest cities. Safety improvements could include curb ramps, raised crosswalks, curb extensions, and pedestrian refugee islands; pedestrian countdown signals or pedestrian hybrid beacons; street lights; pavement markings like high-visibility crosswalk striping and advance yield markings; and signage for crosswalks or rectangular rapid flashing beacons.