Ohio lawmakers approved a $2.1 billion capital budget that provides funding for construction projects and more initiatives to boost the state economy.
The bill earmarks funding for a great deal of construction work, mostly infrastructure projects. The funding supports both new construction and renovation work.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law on Dec. 29.
The budget bill was desperately needed, as it includes $350 million in CARES Act funding, to be distributed throughout the state. The COVID-19 pandemic is also why the legislation includes an emergency clause, allowing the funding to be immediately available.
The new spending initiatives offer promise for members of Ohio State Building Trades affiliated Local Unions.
The approved spending plan sets aside $305 million to be invested in constructing new public schools and conducting maintenance and repairs to secondary facilities. Additionally, $452 million has been set aside for projects at public colleges and universities.
Infrastructure is the main focus in the bill, with $280 million earmarked for local infrastructure projects. Another $280.7 million is set aside for renovations of state and local prisons.
Although projects aren’t mandated to be completed by union tradesmen and tradeswomen, many signatory contractors to union trades, including those of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24, will have a good chance of securing the work.
In a written statement, outgoing Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said the budget is crucial to getting Ohio’s cities back on track, after a tumultuous year.
“The state capital budget plays a major role in making needed improvements to our hometowns while at the same time creating jobs and growing our economy,” Obhof said. “Although we have faced serious challenges this year, sound fiscal management of the state’s finances have put us in a position to provide this stimulus into our local economies.”