Ohio voters back state Issue 1, for capital projects

by MARC KOVAC CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published:

Columbus -- Voters backed a new state bond issue to provide nearly $1.9 billion for roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects over the next decade.

Nearly 65 percent of 1.2 million-plus votes cast supported Issue 1, according to unofficial results released by the secretary of state's office the night of May 6.

The lone statewide issue on the primary ballot represented the third renewal of the State Capital Improvement Program, which was initially OK'd by voters in 1987. The new amendment will provide up to $175 million in state borrowing annually for five years (up from $150 million currently), followed by up to $200 million annually for the remaining five years.

The proceeds will be used for grants for local roads, bridges, water supply, wastewater treatment, storm water collection and solid waste disposal.

Issue 1 had wide bipartisan support, with little public dissension.

"Ohio's successful public works program will be extended 10 more years thanks to approval by Ohio voters, and this is good news for our local communities who rely on this support to improve their roads, bridges and infrastructure," Gov. John Kasich, a supporter of the issue, said in a released statement. "I'm grateful for the broad, bipartisan leadership that helped us renew and strengthen this important program that creates jobs and builds stronger communities in every county of the state."

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law did issue an opposition paper late last week on the issue.

Executive Director Maurice Thompson noted in a released statement at the time, "Given recent spending increases at the state level, passage of state Issue 1 is likely if not certain to increase taxes, undermine Ohio's balanced budget requirement, further expand already historically large state spending and indebtedness, create perverse political incentives and cronyism, legitimize the notion of state spending as a viable means of job creation, further clutter an already bloated-beyond-recognition section of the Ohio Constitution, and redistribute wealth from poor and middle-class Ohioans to wealthy out-of-state investors."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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