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Democrats voice support for 'Restore Ohio'

By SCOTT SEITZ • May 7, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Local Democrats rallied in support of House Bill 492 at the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 42 hall Thursday.

“We are here today to call for the Ohio legislature to focus on the future of our state with a current proposal by Democratic state lawmakers that would invest in Ohio’s communities and build reliable, efficient and modern infrastructure systems that will fuel a strong and thriving economy,” Huron County Commissioner Tom Dunlap said.

“According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 25 percent of Ohio’s 27,000 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete,” Dunlap added. 

“More than 40 percent of Ohio’s roads are in poor or mediocre shape. Driving on them costs each Ohio motorist, on average, more than $200 a year in vehicle repairs.”

Dunlap, along with Huron County Treasurer Kathleen Schaffer and auditor Roland Tkach talked about the importance of HB 492.

“I applaud action taken with House Bill 492, also known as ’Restore Ohio,’ which would leverage $1 billion from the rainy-day fund to provide low-interest loans and grants to local governments to help restore the state’s crumbling infrastructure,” Dunlap said.

“This is the fiscally responsible approach to provide local communities with much-needed relief from infrastructure deterioration by setting aside funding for infrastructure improvements,” he added.

“This program would immediately generate economic growth, while simultaneously addressing critical needs in communities across Ohio without requiring any new taxes or unnecessary spending,” Dunlap said.

The rainy day funds would be made available to communities through loans and/or grants.

“As loans are repaid, the rainy-day fund would be replenished, ensuring the fund’s integrity and solvency,” Dunlap said. “Any interest collected would also be utilized for future grants to communities.”

“House Bill 492 is an excellent proposal as it eases the burden on local communities to find additional resources to repair our roads due to cuts by Gov. John Kasich,” Schaffer added.

Tkach said local government funds have seen a drastic cut since 2008, including $4.5 million just from the county’s general fund and $1.8 million from the city of Norwalk.

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