Issue 1: Funds for roads, bridges, sewers

Q: What is State Issue No. 1?
Andy Ouriel
Apr 8, 2014
State officials steered an issue that each Ohioan voting this spring should spot. Issue No. 1 on May’s primary ballot asks voters whether they want to support or shoot down a state-funded, Ohio-based public infrastructure initiative. In short, the issue reserves a chunk of money from the state’s budget for water, sewer, bridge and road projects. The issue is not a new tax. Taxes will not increase if the issue is approved. A “yes” vote means people want to approve the issue. A ‘no’ vote means people don’t want to support it. Ottawa County engineer David Brunkhorst and Strong Ohio Communities, an organization advocating for the issue, provided some facts and statements:

Q: What is State Issue No. 1?

A: It’s an issue that, if approved, carves out a specific monetary amount from the state’s budget specifically for infrastructure improvements, including roads, bridges, water lines, sewer pipes and more.

Q: If I vote “yes” will my taxes increase?

A: No. If approved by a majority of voters, the state will reserve about $1.88 billion during the next decade for infrastructure improvements.

Q: If approved, how does this issue help fund projects?

A: By one of two ways:

•Grant: State officials pinpoint certain places where infrastructure upgrades must occur and set aside funds for these projects. Officials gauge where upgrades should occur and give money out to these specific projects. Money for fortifying a bridge, for instance, could receive a grant if it’s highly traveled and has a weak foundation. Local governments receiving this type of grant don’t need to pay back the state.

•No-interest loan: Area officials working for local governments — counties, cities, villages and townships — can compete with one another for state funds by submitting applications for specific projects. State officials then determine which projects merit money the most and dole out funds to certain projects in the form of a 0 percent loan. Officials then make arrangements to pay this money back to the state over a certain period of time.

Q: What happens if the issue gets rejected?

A: The money funnels back into the state’s budget and will most likely be used for some other purpose. Infrastructure deficiencies — roads littered with potholes, bridges set to crumble and sewers not capable of handling waste, for instance — will be further neglected, as most local governments can’t afford to fund these projects at 100 percent of the total cost.

Q: What are some other benefits of voting for the issue?

A: The issue should create an additional 35,000 construction and related jobs during the next decade.

Q: Where will these improvements occur?

A: It’s not known today what projects stand to receive money in the near future.

But consider this: All 88 counties in Ohio have benefited from the program in terms of receiving money to help completely pay off or partially chip away at a specific project’s total cost. Among the beneficiaries are Erie, Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, collectively obtaining almost $150 million.

Q: Why should people vote for the issue?

A: “This provides another avenue of available funding for infrastructure improvements” Brunkhorst said. “It’s also for the health and safety of the community. This money gives us the ability to do substantially more repairs and rehabilitation to our infrastructure”

Comments

Stop It

35,000 union jobs, of course.

doppleganger

I could be wrong, but I don't think they have to be union. They have to pay the same as union (prevailing wage) which is a good thing.

JudgeMeNot

Paying prevailing wages (code word for "union wages") raises the costs.

doppleganger

Would you have them make minimum wage? That ought to be a fine quality product they put out. We can get all of the McDonalds french fryers out there to repair the roads. Nice.

SamAdams

And what parts of the budget would get "shorted" to cover these earmarked funds? Not that I necessarily don't think most budget items SHOULD be trimmed...it's just that trimming is almost certain to generate requests for tax increases from some entity or another. So the bottom line is this: THESE funds aren't a tax increase. The "make-up money" WILL be.

pntbutterandjelly

One way or the other...we have to keep our infrastructure intact.

pntbutterandjelly

Maybe we could bring in some Chinese labor workers to make the repairs. They work cheap, just eat rice and we can house 40 or more in one hotel room. While we're at it...we could bring in ship loads of them to replace all American workers making more than $2.00 per hour. Just think how much money we'll all save! The bonus is that we'll make wealthy corporations even wealthier. Now there's a really good plan we should all be able to get behind. Right?

"Would you like Soy sauce with your burger?"

OneLocalVoice

We all know that the funding will go to those projects closest to to those who make the funding decisions or where the votes are...namely the BIG Cities.

jmgthatsme

Is there another Perkins Levy on the ballot? If so, what are the details and why have I not heard anything about it? Are they trying to keep it quite so only the people who want it to pass show up to vote?