Ohio Flush with Cash After COVID Relief, Infrastructure Bill

Cleveland sign in downtown Cleveland, Ohio

 

After its major cities raked in more than six billion dollars from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief, Ohio will once again be flush with federal cash.

The state is expected to receive more than$10 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is meant to be spent on rebuilding roads, bridges and other public structures, according to reports.

Specifically, Ohio is supposed to spend $9.7 billion on roads and bridges, followed by $1.2 billion on public transportation. Nearly $1.5 billion will be spent on “water infrastructure,” which includes removing lead water pipes statewide.

It will also reportedly spend in the hundreds of millions of dollars on both broadband internet, a network of chargers for electric vehicles, and nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on airport infrastructure.

Other projects that clock in at less than one hundred million dollars include wildfire protection, cybersecurity protection.

But some cities are still sitting on piles of cash from the COVID-19 bailout.

As The Ohio Star reported, Columbus still has not spent most of its $187 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. It only committed to a “short-term summer youth engagement and anti-violence efforts.”

Akron hasn’t spent any of its money either, except to hire consultants to tell it how to spend its money. The Akron Beacon-Journal proposed that the city spends its money, including on surveillance cameras to “deter crime and assist criminal investigations, purchase and install 50 surveillance cameras for Akron residents living in high crime areas” and boosting tourism.

Such has been the case for many of Ohio’s cities which, when they have spent their federal COVID-19 relief funding, they have spent it on projects unrelated to COVID-19 relief.

Cincinnati bailed itself out of debt with some of its $107 million. It said it will spend the rest on “visual arts organizations, restaurant grants, and investment in minority businesses.”

Cleveland received $511 million. It has spent only $108 million on pandemic relief.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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