With infrastructure bill’s passage, funding up to the community

By: - January 10, 2022 3:50 am

Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation is excited to watch billions of dollars in infrastructure funding come to the state, but where that funding goes now depends on local efforts.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in November, will bring needed funding to the state in areas such as water systems, public transportation and broadband, according to the state’s federal representatives.

“Now our children won’t have to do homework in the parking lot of a McDonald’s,” said U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, on a Friday press call with other members of the delegation.

Beatty spelled out the funding coming to the state, specifically $1.4 billion for water infrastructure, $1.2 billion for public transportation and at least $100 million for broadband access. Road infrastructure is set to get a $1.8 million boost in the state, with another $71 million for lead pipe abatement.

The members of Congress on the call, including Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Tim Ryan (who is also running for U.S. Senate) and Rep. Shontel Brown, said priorities should be set for the money, such as conserving Lake Erie and upgrading bridges like the Brent Spence Bridge. But other projects will require more input.

“It’s an extremely sophisticated piece of legislation, but we are going to have to work with our transportation planning organizations throughout the state,” Kaptur said.

Through use of the funding, Kaptur said she wants to see modernized rail corridors, workforce development and upgrade energy production in the state.

But with the large sums of money comes competition for those dollars, meaning the mayors Rep. Sherrod Brown said he talks to monthly will need to start getting organized.

“The money will come soon, it’s mostly up to local governments and state governments to begin to turn the spigot on and get the money flowing,” Brown said.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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