Ohio Senate approves effort to pursue $1.9 billion for local infrastructure

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Ohio Senate voted on Tuesday, Jan. 14, to endorse a plan to renew and expand a nearly $1.9 billion public works program that would benefit local infrastructure.

With unanimous consent, senators voted to advance to the House a joint resolution – SJR6 – that would ask voters in May’s primary election to renew and expand a $1.35 billion program used to finance road, bridge and sewer projects. The program funded from bonds backed by the state’s general revenues would pump about $1.87 billion during the next decade into local projects.

Originally approved by voters in the mid-80s, the program was most recently updated in 2005. Since then, the State Capital Improvement Program has funded $150 million in projects annually.

Renewing the program would boost annual bonds to $175 million for the next five years and to $200 million for the five years after that.

Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, said it would allow the state to continue what they’ve been doing.

Democrats say the proposal doesn’t do enough to address local infrastructure problems. They say they will continue to push for more money for village, township, city and county projects.

Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, said the legislation would help meet expectations of the public for local infrastructure.

“Ensuring the safety of our citizens by properly maintaining our roads, bridges and other important public infrastructure is a primary responsibility we have to our citizens,” Rep. Brown said in prepared remarks.

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