Ohio lawmakers approve pursuit of $1.9 billion for local infrastructure

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/14/2014

The Ohio Senate and House voted to clear the way for the public to decide whether to renew and expand a nearly $1.9 billion public works program that would benefit local infrastructure.

House lawmakers voted 90-2 to endorse 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.

The Senate already approved it by unanimous consent.

“This resolution provides Ohio with an opportunity to meet and improve upon our infrastructure needs,” House Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, said in a release.

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, recently said it would allow the state to continue what they’ve been doing.

Democrats said the proposal doesn’t do enough to address local infrastructure problems. An attempt in the Senate to offer local governments more money for road building was shot down.

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