Rebuilding Ohio's Infrastructure
Ohio has an infrastructure crisis. Every year the average Ohioan spends an extra $475 driving on roads that are poorly maintained. We live near 362 dams across the state that are at “high hazard” level; however, only 72% of our state regulated dams have an emergency action plan. Nearly 2,000 bridges across the state are structurally deficient.
It is unsafe and unsustainable to send our kids to schools that need over $600 million in repairs. It is dangerous to drive on roads and bridges that are not maintained. And it is terrifying to think that whole communities are living under the threat of hazardous dams or deteriorating drinking water infrastructure. We must make the investment to modernize this infrastructure. We cannot let crises like the drinking water crisis in Flint Michigan occur in Ohio. Rebuilding our infrastructure won’t be easy, but making this strategic investment is crucial for our future.
National Infrastructure Bank
In order to successfully fund large-scale modernization projects, I support the formation of a national infrastructure bank. A national infrastructure bank would be funded by the federal government, and would loan out money to agencies or local governments for the express purpose of funding expensive, far-reaching infrastructure projects. Like any bank, this national infrastructure bank would provide loans to communities that are ready to invest in infrastructure today and would be paid back over time. This is cost effective and ensures that communities have the opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure before it fails and becomes significantly more expensive to fix.
Furthermore, a national infrastructure bank will be a strong signal to the private sector that the federal government is committed and open to private involvement in the delivery of infrastructure growth. This bank will also be able to provide technical assistance and expertise to states and other localities that don’t have the internal capacity to deal with large-scale infrastructure projects on their own.
But fixing out current infrastructure is not enough; our government has a long way to go in providing 21st century resources to rural communities across Ohio. We must ensure that access to essential tools of the modern market, like high speed internet and efficient electrical grids, are included in our plan to modernize our state's infrastructure system.
As your Congresswoman, I will work to ensure that your electric grid is up-to-date, and I will fight to invest in energy efficient solutions and grid hardening programs so that you can have more reliable access to electricity and lower energy bills. I also will support legislation that allocates funds to expanding high-speed internet access to every community in our district so that we all have the opportunity to keep up with the global economy. Along these lines I support current plans that provide financial support to companies that are working to bring high speed internet to 14,000 more homes in Ohio. This is a huge step in the right direction, and I will continue this fight until high speed connections are standard across this state.
President Trump has put forward an infrastructure plan promising a $1.5 trillion investment by 2028 -- however, this plan only includes $200 billion in federal funding. Under this plan local governments and private firms will bear well over 80% of the financial burden. At the same time, the president is undermining the safety of large infrastructure projects. His plan cuts the approval process for these projects down from between five and ten years down to only two. This will make it difficult for agencies to assess the environmental impacts of some projects, putting American communities and families at risk. Cutting corners on the bridges, hospitals, schools and roads we use everyday is not the way out of this crisis.
With that being said, we need bipartisan support for investments of this scale. Considering that President Trump campaigned on rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, we should be able to find common ground. When in Congress, I will work across the aisle with Republicans to find that common ground and hold President Trump to the commitment he made.
The Bottom Line
We can fix our aging infrastructure and we can make bold, new investments that will make our economy competitive in the 21st century. In Congress I will be a voice for fixing Ohio's roads and bridges, protecting our hospitals and schools, and for expanding the promise of the 21st century economy, without cutting cutting corners and putting families at risk.