State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced legislation to fund sewer and water capital improvements through general obligation bonds. Under this proposal, municipal corporations, counties, townships and other government entities would be eligible to receive state bonds for capital projects to ensure clean drinking water, promote public health and alleviate environmental concerns.
“Communities across Ohio, including many in the Mahoning Valley, constantly struggle to obtain the funding needed to maintain and rebuild critically important infrastructure,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “Our failure to upgrade and modernize the systems that deliver our water and treat waste put people’s lives at risk. The longer we wait, the more likely it becomes that a Flint, Michigan-like disaster will occur in our state. I am confident Ohio voters will embrace our commonsense solution to this growing and extremely dangerous dilemma.”
According to American Society of Civil Engineer’s most recent annual assessment, Ohio will need $12.2 billion for drinking water and $14.6 billion for wastewater infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years to keep in line with water quality and public health standards.
“In the last decade, infrastructure spending has been woefully inadequate to keep pace with our aging public water systems,” said Rep. Smith. “When giving consideration to the positive ripple effect that these projects would create for Ohio’s working families and public health, the time to invest is now.”
If passed, the resolution would need voter approval in November before becoming law. State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced a companion bill, Senate Joint Resolution 4, in the Senate.
Once numbered, the resolution will be referred to a House committee, where it will receive its initial hearings.