“I think when you have an opinion about everything, I’m not sure anybody listens to you. You’ll find we’ll be fairly judicious in the contacts we have as far as issues,” DeWine said.
Many of the conversations, he said, will remain private. For example, DeWine again refused Sunday to comment on President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, a decision that could draw federal dollars away from a handful of military construction projects in Ohio.
“I’m not going to weigh in publicly on that,” he said.
DeWine also defended himself against criticism from his 2018 political opponent Richard Cordray that he had broken a promise when he proposed an 18-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase to pay for crumbling roads and bridges. DeWine said he announced during the campaign that he planned to put together a commission to receive input on how to pay for state infrastructure and vowed to consider its recommendations.
“That’s what I said during the campaign, and I think what I’ve done is consistent,” he said.
He acknowledged that raising the gas tax “is not something that anyone wants to do,” but he said the gravity of the problems necessitated his proposal.
“I’m not going to go borrow more money,” he said. “We’re already paying $390 million more a year just to service the debt on projects that are gone. The credit cards are maxed out.”
He said while a federal infrastructure bill “would be welcome,” that “it’s not going to eliminate the hole that we’re in.”
“I take the world as I find it,” he said. “I can’t wish that something else would’ve happened five years ago or 10 years ago either in Ohio or at the federal level. Governors deal with the world, and we deal with the reality of (what) we find.
“If I don’t deal with Ohio’s infrastructure problems, people are going to look at those roads and see where we are two years from now and four years are from now and they are going to be understandably and correctly furious that we didn’t do anything, that we didn’t take the action that we needed to take.”