According to a high-ranking Ohio Senate source, senators want to transfer $1 billion in one-time spending from the state operating budget to a new fund for local projects that will be distributed in the spring of 2019.
The source claimed that the creation of the One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund, which is scheduled to be revealed on Tuesday, would eliminate many of the earmarks for infrastructure and other projects included in the House’s version of the $88 billion, two-year spending plan. They agreed to remain anonymous because the announcement’s specifics were still being worked out.
The fund will be established with leftover federal funds and tax dollars from the fiscal year 2023, which Republican Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio House have each proposed using in various ways. According to the source, the Senate idea is to assist lawmakers in making deliberate, one-time spending decisions for important capital or transportation projects while keeping the budget document’s emphasis on policy choices.
transit initiatives, such as building roads and bridges or improving public transit, as well as physical community projects that benefit local institutions like schools, jails, zoos, museums, parks, and waterfronts are all eligible to receive funding from the fund.
The action appears to be directed at the $1 billion in one-time funding that the House budget allots for Connect4Ohio, a new initiative run by the Ohio Department of Transportation with the goal of reducing commuting times and speeding up truck deliveries around the state.
The House-passed bill allocated specifically $200 million for bridge replacement projects, $200 million for local matching grants, $24 million for infrastructure improvements supporting the $20 billion Intel chip factory being built east of Columbus, $6.2 million for road improvements in a county in southwest Ohio that contains a stretch of Interstate 71, and $1 million to study connecting two deep-water ports in northern Ohio. According to the House plan, at least a third of the funds must be used for construction projects in rural counties. The insider clarified that cutting these programmes from the operating budget does not negate their worth. In truth, the purpose of the new fund was to make sure that the state’s idle funds could still be used to support important programmes.