Trumbull County leaders discuss best way to spend infrastructure money

Warren News

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s a good time to have infrastructure projects in Ohio – the governor has already signed H.B. 168, a major bill providing the money.

The bill, which provides $250 million for infrastructure, passed the State Senate unanimously and the House by a 79-6 vote.

Thursday, Trumbull County engineer Randy Smith met with county leaders to discuss a team approach to get funding.

“That is the one thing that made this bill so challenging. The guidelines for the bill have not been established. What constitutes a viable project or how they’ll be rated, but the timeline for submittal started about six weeks ago,” Smith said.

How the money is going to be divided up remains to be seen. By population, evenly split among counties, or some other measure – Trumbull County wants to get its fair share.

“Seems like we’ve got to jump on this to get our projects together. I don’t see this as a problem. I see this as an opportunity,” said representative for Ohio’s 32nd district Sandra O’Brien.

Representative Mike Loychik put in the amendment to the bill which provided the $250 million for water and sewer projects. Communities will likely put bids together – certainly, every community has a need.

“No matter if it’s a water line or sewer line, water tower, you know there’s always something that needs to be done because you have to continually invest in your infrastructure,” said Ben Kyle of Hubbard.

The state may look for shovel-ready projects. But the county approach to submitting the best projects may be well-received.

“They’re going to look at that in Columbus and say, ‘Well, I don’t know about the other 87 counties, but I know one county which has their act together,'” said representative for Ohio’s 64th district Mike O’Brien.

Mahoning and Columbiana counties are also eligible to apply for the sewer and water project funding. There may also be money available for demolition and brownfield projects.

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