$2.39 billion capital budget introduced in Ohio House
A bill providing $2.39 billion over two years to fund state capital improvements and local school construction was introduced Tuesday in the Ohio House of Representatives.
The bill, developed jointly by Governor John Kasich and leaders of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, calls for the issuance of $2.07 billion in bonds to be paid off from the state General Revenue Fund. The remaining $300 million of spending proposed in the bill would be paid from cash accounts.
It also provides for $1.6 billion in capital reappropriations for projects that were authorized by the General Assembly previously but have not yet been completed.
In the roll-out hearing on the bill before the House Finance Committee Tuesday, Office of Budget & Management Director Tim Keen said the capital spending plan for fiscal 2015-16 is the product of "a careful process that has prioritized the most pressing needs of state government, schools and higher education, with particular emphasis given to each project's impact on jobs and economic growth.
"Most expenditures are focused on necessary maintenance and upkeep of the state's current capital assets, while much of the new construction funded in this bill is used to replace existing facilities that are no longer cost-effective to repair," Keen explained.
The bill, which is $100 million smaller than the capital budget adopted by the General Assembly 10 years ago, but $1.8 billion larger than the one passed two years ago, proposes:
- $675 million for local school construction, including repairs, renovations and new primary and secondary education facilities;
- $454.5 million for Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities;
- $369 million for local infrastructure projects administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission, including upgrades, replacement and new construction of local roads and bridges, storm and sanitary sewers, water lines and other vital infrastructure;
- $100 million for the Clean Ohio program to improve outdoor recreational opportunities and fund the preservation of open spaces and farmlands;
- $574.3 million for maintenance and renovations at state-owned facilities including Ohio State Parks, state prisons, mental health facilities and other public facilities, including $100 million to construct and renovate maintenance facilities, outposts and yards operated by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
- $160 million for local community projects, such as museums, parks and performing arts facilities.
Click here to download a document that lists all projects included in the bill, including a county-by-county listing that begins on page 8.