SPRINGFIELD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is hoping a compromise spending plan to pay for roads, bridges and computer broadband access will eventually pass. But, it’s going to take a lot of work convincing lawmakers on both sides to go along with it.
Even as he was meeting with local officials and walking through a small business in Mahoning County’s Springfield Township Tuesday morning, Portman admitted that Washington, D.C. is still focused on getting a new infrastructure bill passed.
“Roads and bridges, think of the potholes in the Mahoning Valley. It also funds broadband expansion, which is really important for our area — its core infrastructure,” Portman said.
Last week, Portman and other senators were with President Joe Biden when he proclaimed a deal had been reached on a trillion-dollar package that avoids raising taxes and would use other funding sources to pay for it.
“Including repurposing some of the COVID money that has not been spent yet. It hasn’t even been sent out from the government yet,” Portman said.
“This is a step, but it’s a modest step,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
On Monday, when Brown was in the area, he told reporters the compromise plan doesn’t go far enough.
“It’s important putting people back to work in the waters and modern bridges and sewers and highways and all that, but there are a lot more needs,” Brown said.
“Just don’t connect them is our point. It was never connected during our negotiations, we negotiated this for four months,” Portman said.
Portman added that while taxpayers overwhelmingly want their roads and bridges fixed, he’s not as sure about tying the infrastructure bill to another one with trillions more in social programs and environmental regulations.
“At the end of the day, if you’re gonna say, ‘I’m gonna hold this popular bill hostage to something that’s a lot less popular,’ I’m not sure that’s sustainable. Certainly isn’t the right thing to do,” Portman said.
Portman predicts a lot more hard work needs to be done before anything is passed.