Issue on May ballot could help fund local infrastructure projects

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An issue on the May ballot could help fund local infrastructure projects.

Issue 1 was the focus of a news conference Wednesday at the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

Hamilton County commissioner Greg Hartmann, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, and members of the Building and Construction Trades Council were among those showing their support for the issue.

Issue 1 is a renewal of Ohio's state capital infrastructure program, also known as SCIP, which has provided funding for road, bridge, sewer and water projects for 27 years. The program includes $320 million in grants and loans to projects in Hamilton County.

Those in favor of the program say it will help fund the completion of badly needed road, bridge, sewer and other infrastructure projects.

A renewal of the program will not raise taxes.

Opponents of the program say it will allow the state to issue more bonds, putting the state in greater debt to pay for infrastructure improvements. As a result, all Ohio taxpayers will be paying interest on those bonds.

Money from the State Capital Infrastructure Program funds a variety of projects at the local level like road resurfacing and bridge repair.

Local projects like the Cleves-Warsaw Bridge and the retaining wall along Upper Road to guard against landslides will also see funds.

Commissioner Hartmann says SCIP money has done a lot in Hamilton County.

"Since 1987, over $300 million worth of work from this program has come right here to Hamilton County. With what's going on in Washington, we're not seeing dollars from Washington. We've got to fund a lot of these projects locally or they don't get funded," said Hartmann.

Hartmann says Issue 1 is easy on the taxpayers.

"It's no tax increase. It uses our bonding authority in Ohio and the way to pay that interest is already built into the state budget," he added.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says infrastructure is one of the most important functions of government.

"It's going to bring jobs to the community. It's going to rebuild our roads. It's all for capital improvement projects, infrastructure projects. If we're going to have a great city and a great state we need to have a capitol improvement project re-approved," said Cranley.

Some viewers may have seen a circular in their morning paper explaining the issue in detail.

By law, the Ohio Secretary of State's office is required to send out notices once a week for three consecutive weeks before the May 6 election.

To view the entire Hamilton County SCIP project list, click here:

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