Gas Tax Increase Leaves its Mark on Athens County

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ATHENS, Ohio – Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill increasing the gas tax in Ohio by 10.5 cents moving the tax from 28 cents per gallon to 38.5 cents, the first increase in the gas tax since 2005. Athens County Engineer Jeff Maiden said rural counties like Athens will see better roads as a result.

The gas tax allows the Athens County Engineers budget to increase by 35 percent allowing more road repairs countywide.

“I’m excited to have some money to do some stuff with,” Maiden said.

One of the first projects he will tackle will be a 1.9 mile stretch of Baker Road starting just after the intersection of Radford Road.

While the gas tax increase will go into effect in July, Maiden said Athens County won’t start seeing the funds until October. Maiden said he’s planning on an additional $300,000 to $350,000 then.

Maiden thanked the Gov. Mike DeWine and State Representatives Jay Edwards and Frank Hoagland, for their work on the bill.

“Our costs have gone up dramatically inflation wise,” he said.”

Because the price of materials and projects have increased, Maiden said the Engineers’ office has had to rely on hard-to-obtain grants to fund projects.

Which roads will be worked on first?

Maiden said his office will be prioritizing road repairs based on a system rating the condition and amount of traffic on each road. The Athens County Engineers’ office is in charge of over 350 miles of roadways, more than most urban areas, such such as Columbus, Maiden said.

What do does one resident think about the roads being bad?

Brooke Thompson, an Athens County resident who travels the roads, said she looks forward to better roads. She said one of her friends even got a flat tire from hitting a pothole.