Communities throughout Ohio will be the big winners if voters agree to pass a Republican plan that provides nearly $200 million over 10 years to keep roads, bridges, sewers and other public infrastructure up to date and safe.
Officially known as Senate Joint Resolution 6, the proposal increases by $50 million the annual funding of Ohio’s largest public-works program — the State Capital Improvement Program. It doesn’t involve any additional tax dollars; the funds would come from selling bonds that are backed by existing tax revenues in the state’s nearly $1.5 billion rainy-day fund.
We see the proposal as a creative and virtually safe way to rebuild Ohio’s aging infrastructure. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and state Senate President Keith Faber say it’s all of that — and more.
“There will be people working as a result of this … our biggest challenge is to move the private sector and have people continue to expand and invest in our state,” Kasich said.
Faber called the expansion of the public works program “a critical piece of our economic engine in Ohio.”
Skeptics will tell you this is no more than political grandstanding by the GOP, which has been the target of Democrats in recent years for the cuts it made to local funding. Indeed the Republican press conference was a well-orchestrated event with the party’s leadership dropping all the powerful buzzwords, such as “job creation” and “moving the state forward.” But even if such criticism is true, and we’re not suggesting such is the case, it doesn’t make sense to slap someone when they’re turning the other cheek.
What happens next is the referral of the resolution to a Senate committee. The goal is to clear both legislative chambers by the end of January so the question can appear on the ballot during the May 2014 election.
The Republican plan is simple and solid.
Investing in Ohio’s infrastructure is an investment in Ohio’s future. Finding funds for local governments to make sure water systems are safe and bridges are sound is good government. And creating jobs for hard-working Ohioans is the icing on the cake.