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Jan
2014
17

OH Unions, State Senate, and Gov. Kasich Agree: Road Construction Funding Needs a Lift

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In Ohio, construction unions have joined Gov. John Kasich and the State Senate in endorsing a proposal to increase money for road construction through bonds.  If passed, the proposal will meet the Ohio voting public this year.

Democrats tried to include an amendment in the Senate proposal that would have provided more money to the funds, arguing that the debt level in the constitution has not been reached. The amendment failed and Democrats fell in line helping the State Senate unanimously (31-0) vote the proposal through to the House.  

If passed there and subsequently by voters it would mean “a 39 percent increase in state money in the next decade”:

The bonding provides money to the Ohio Public Works Commission, which divvies up $150 million each year to work on roads, bridges and sewers across the state. The bonding is up for its 10-year renewal and does not involve a tax increase.

Under the proposal that is headed to the Ohio House, the state would ask voters for permission to increase bonding to provide $175 million annually in the first five years and $200 million in each of the next five years. Nineteen districts of cities, townships and counties across the state would decide how to use the money.

While the new funding does not make up for the cuts endured over the past few years, it is being encouraged by local governments:

“There were cuts to the Local Government Fund and other funding streams. We are concerned about that. But we are glad that this fund is being increased,” said Matthew DeTemple, executive director of the Ohio Township Association.

“It’s not going to replace those funds,” said Sue Cave, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League. “But it was never designed from its very beginning to replace any lost money.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Gov. John Kasich urged Ohioans to take the inevitable traffic bump with a grain of salt:

“Rebuilding Ohio. That’s exactly the way I look at it,” Gov. John Kasich told reporters Wednesday. “Put some nice music in your car, because you’re going to be stuck all over the state trying to get through places as we shine up the state.”

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