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Ohio Embraces An Electric Future

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According to a recent poll, Ohio voters want infrastructure upgrades like those laid out in the administration’s proposed $1.2 trillion American infrastructure investment plan. In addition to improving roads and bridges, the plan dedicates resources in the Buckeye state for improvements in public transportation, drinking water, housing, and broadband access. The plan also focuses on increasing the number of clean energy jobs available in the state. Ohio could reap huge benefits from the bipartisan-backed bill.

The bill has generated a reception from native Ohioans that is overwhelmingly positive. Some of the most popular aspects include the modernization of the power grid and the protection of natural lands and waterways within the state, sitting at 80 percent and 78 percent Republican voter support, respectively. Other aspects include increased funding for public transportation infrastructure and $16 billion for the capping of abandoned mines and oil wells.  Additionally, the plan allots $40 billion to retrain such works for sustainable jobs. This overhaul ties into the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and will pump economic stimulus through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER grant program.

Image courtesy of Alexandru Boicu

Ohio’s current infrastructure received a C- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers, citing specific needs to improve the resiliency of the infrastructure, including damages from recent weather events. Drinking water was also cited as an important need, with $48 billion in federal funding set aside for water concerns. All in all, tens of billions of dollars could head to the region for economic and environmental improvement.

Like the expansion of electricity in the 1930s, the federal plan includes the national development of high-speed broadband access, designed to reach rural areas where high-speed internet has not previously been available. Under this plan, Ohioans would greatly benefit, including the 1 million residents who currently have no broadband access at home

Photo Courtesy G-R Mottez

The Ohio Department of Transportation has plans for more than 950 projects across the state, improving more than 4,600 miles of road and 800 bridges with several infrastructure projects already in process.  

The plan is not a done deal as federal legislators recently reached a bipartisan consensus on the package. The infrastructure package must first pass Congress before being signed into law. Though it relies on funding through increases in corporate taxes, infrastructure plans often receive strong bipartisan support. If passed, it will be an essential cog in the wheel to reach the United States’ goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.


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