Funding needed for roads damaged by trucks

East Ohio residents who have to suffer from damage to roads caused by energy industry trucks ought to receive special consideration when proceeds from the state severance tax are handed out. That was state Rep. Jack Cera’s goal in action he took earlier this year.

Cera, D-Bellaire, was successful in amending a bill in the state House of Representatives. His measure would have directed an additional $10 million in oil and gas severance tax proceeds to East Ohio counties. It called for redirecting the money over two years back to local villages and cities; 17 counties would have been impacted.

But when the bill went to the state Senate, the amendment was stripped out of it. State Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, fought to retain the special funding, but also failed. His idea was that the money would be evenly distributed to county engineers, then 60 percent given to municipalities and 40 percent to townships.

A House-Senate conference committee is at work ironing out the two chambers’ differences in the bill. Fortunately, Cera is a member of that panel.

Simple justice would be for the conference committee to restore at least the $10 million sought by Cera. If panel members resist that, perhaps he and Hoagland should offer to take some of them on a drive through the counties here along the Ohio River.

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