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$2.6 billion capital improvements budget taking wings through Ohio General Assembly

A $2.6 billion, two-year state capital improvements budget, which funds all manner of projects in virtually every county, is taking wings through the Ohio General Assembly.

The Ohio Senate passed the spending plan (SB 310) by a 32-1 vote April 20, sending it to the House of Representatives, which is expected to quickly add its stamp of approval. Given that members of Governor John Kasich's cabinet had a major hand in crafting the bill, his signature is considered very likely.

Traditionally the capital budget is the product of months of behind-the scenes negotiations among state administration officials and legislative leaders, leading to a bill that is agreed upon before it's even introduced.  This one is no different.

It appropriates $650 million for K-12 schools, $537 million for projects at Ohio's institutions of higher education and $500 million for the Ohio Public Works Commission to help pay for local road, bridge and water and wastewater projects.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is allocated $323 million for renovation and improvement of the state parks, forests and dams, while the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will receive $151 million for renovations at its 27 adult correctional facilities.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will receive $100 million to continue its program of building or renovating highway maintenance outposts throughout the state.

Much to the delight of local officials and state legislators, the bill also allocates $160 million for "economic development projects of local or regional importance," including local arts and sports facilities, museums and historical building renovations.

Most of the bill's price tag will be paid for by the issuance of $2.18 billion in bonds serviced from the state's general revenue fund (GRF) budget, while the remaining $438 million will be supported by non-GRF bonds and cash.

Click here to download a list of all projects funded in the capital budget bill, broken down both  by state agency and by county.


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