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Opinion: Keeping & Creating Jobs Requires Infrastructure Investment

For more than 200 years, Ohio and its people have been leaders and innovators.
February 11, 2021
Republican Newsroom

For more than 200 years, Ohio and its people have been leaders and innovators. We’re home to world class economic and educational opportunities, beautiful parks, cultural venues and offer a quality of life that is second to none.

There’s no place better to raise a family, build your career and to call home.

Governor Mike DeWine’s idea to share Ohio’s story with America, to tell current and prospective Ohioans they will find their future here, is right on the mark.  But in addition to the question of its $50 million price tag, there are also the equally critical questions of how to pay for such a proposal while continuing to invest in Ohio’s future. These issues will drive debate on the governor’s proposal in the weeks ahead. 

In my view, the answer is clear: empower Ohio’s economic development professionals at JobsOhio to sell Ohio to America’s job creators and future Ohioans while we do our part as state policymakers to use that proposed money to help invest in what matters and what works by investing in Ohio’s future.

Economic opportunity is the number one reason people move to or from Ohio, so it’s critical that economic development be front and center in Ohio’s efforts.

Not only does JobsOhio have a national reach, they work with job creators here in Ohio and across the nation every day. They know Ohio and they know the audience we need to reach. And here’s the good news: JobsOhio is up to the task financially as well, as they are supported by state liquor sales proceeds, which have recently increased more than 7 percent. 

Keeping and creating jobs here in Ohio will take more than TV commercials. It will take investing in Ohio, especially our infrastructure. That’s why Ohio’s new state budget will invest in what matters and what works.

The pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on Ohio and its people. That includes the state’s finances. With fewer people driving, revenue from the state’s gas tax – one of the two main funding sources for state transportation projects – is $200 million below estimates from March through November 2020.

While I appreciate the efforts of Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Transportation to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on highway spending, infrastructure issues remain. Make no mistake, our infrastructure is the foundation on which Ohio’s economy is built.  Like most things, infrastructure does not get better with age.

Ohio is the crossroads of America, located within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the American and Canadian populations. We have the fourth largest interstate system and the second largest inventory of bridges, plus a significant rail system as well as ports along Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

This infrastructure is critical for Ohio’s economy. Along with issues such as broadband, workforce development, education, tax policy and transit, infrastructure is a critical piece of the puzzle America’s job creators consider when they are looking to relocate or expand.

If we want more people to call Ohio home and bring former Ohioans back to the Buckeye State, economic opportunity is where the conversation needs to begin. Getting there means telling the story that Ohio’s doors are open for business and we’re investing in what works. That includes investing in Ohio’s infrastructure.