Ohio Announces $9m in Infrastructure Grants

President Joe Biden, like most presidents before him, ran on huge infrastructure spending to revitalize this nation's roadways and sewer systems. The fact, however, is that most of the actual infrastructure work doesn't come from the federal government. Things like wars and impeachments and foreign affairs get in the way. Most of the nation's infrastructure spending and work comes in at the state level, so it's no surprise to learn that Ohio has just announced a $9 million grant for the state's water and sewer infrastructure to be revitalized.

Governor Mike DeWine announced earlier in the week, accompanied by Ohio's EPA director Laurie Stevenson, that nearly two dozen communities throughout the state will be awarded over $9 million in grants in order to fix up their sewer systems and water supplies. Directly to the northwest of Ohio, Flint, Michigan is a daily reminder of what can happen when these sorts of projects are put on hold, and Governor DeWine does not want to suffer the same fate.

One area of Ohio that is dangerously close to mirroring Flint's fate is the Middleport area of Ohio. This is an area in desperate need of a drinking water infrastructure overhaul, and this project is at the very top of the list for the grant agenda. Next up is a home sewage treatment system replacement for Meigs County residents. There are over 20 other additional projects slated to take place this year, with the grant supposedly covering the cost of construction. Municipal workers are already drawing a state-based salary, so the money needed to purchase the materials is all that's required, not extra money to pay construction crews to handle the tasks. Any additional manpower will come from a state-based budget and will be outside of the grant, which gives Ohio some flexibility here in being able to gather a proper workforce without having to drain the coffers of funds available for HSOhio and other organizations.

Governor DeWine stated that these projects are solely to improve the "quality of life for thousands of Ohioans" by offering them reliable access to clean water and also properly disposing of sewage. An infrastructure overhaul was something that has long been needed in Ohio, but former state governments have simply never gotten around to it.

Also on the list of projects is a brand new water treatment plant and the replacement of water lines for public institutions and some neighborhoods in a few communities. With a growing population in Ohio, it's also very important to expand the sewage systems to avoid problems going forward. A sewage issue is a whole lot more troublesome than drinking water issues. The state wants neither to occur, but sewage backups and improper disposal can be serious and deadly.

This move is also expected to create a lot of jobs around the area. Government workers and laborers will be required to see these tasks through, and so it is estimated that a few hundred more Ohioans will be able to find good, stable employment thanks to these upgrades.

The Difference in State V Federal Spending

A lot of people who read this may wonder why the state-based grant is so low. Only $9 million to tackle around two dozen jobs? Most people will notice that when these grants come from the federal government, they're rarely under a billion dollars. Well, as mentioned above, the state's labor costs are separate entirely to the booster funds for the project's materials. State workers' salaries are taken out of a state-based budget, and not the grant money, and so there's no reason to fill these coffers up with millions more than needed. When it's a federal grant, they're taking into account all of the money that will have to go toward the project, from workers and equipment to materials and more. And so what's typically happening with federal grants is that they're paying the states to disperse this money over multiple areas to cover the entire project.

In other words, if you combined the costs of these infrastructure upgrades in Ohio, you may be looking at closer to $100 million by the time everything's done. That's just how much money is spent on these projects. The $9 million grant is basically a boost to get these projects underway, and any extra money needed for anything else will be taken from other areas of the state budget. It can get really complicated, but that's just how government operates.

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