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Howland project funding gets OK

Ryan’s request for $4M to overhaul intersection passes House committee

A U.S. House committee approved $4 million each in funding for transportation projects in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, but the bill with the money for the local projects still needs votes from both the full House and Senate before financing is official.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, got funding for the projects included in the $547 billion, five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill with approval Thursday from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The bill included about $6 billion in earmarks for projects submitted by House members for their districts. The committee voted 38-26 in support of the bill with Democrats backing it and Republicans in opposition.

The committee’s approval is a “big step needed” to get funding for the projects, Michael Zetts, Ryan’s spokesman, said.

The Mahoning project is $4 million for a Mahoning Avenue industrial corridor upgrade to Mahoning Avenue, Bailey Road and Rosemont Road in Jackson Township.

The Trumbull project, to be handled by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, is to overhaul the intersection of state Route 46 and Warren Sharon Road in Howland.

The House is expected to consider the bill by early July.

It also needs approval from the Senate, which likely will be challenging.

“These are important investments that improve our community and our way of life,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s requests for a $7.2 million project in Cuyahoga Falls and $4 million in Akron, which also are in his congressional district, received approval from the House committee.

Ryan had requested money for 12 transportation projects. But the maximum amount any individual House member could receive for his or her district is $20 million. The four projects from Ryan getting committee approval total $19.2 million.

Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said the Mahoning Avenue corridor improvement project “is crucial to Mahoning County and Jackson Township to enable commerce to move more efficiently and safely through the corridor,” particularly with a number of major businesses there.

“The need for safety upgrades and pavement improvements is of utmost importance,” he said.

Jim Kinnick, Eastgate’s executive director, said the Howland safety upgrade would “provide countless economic benefits to the corridor that will include the construction of a diverging diamond interchange” at the intersection.

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