Set priorities now for possible federal funding
As members of Ohio’s congressional delegation discussed the amount of money headed to the Buckeye State from the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, there was agreement: Priorities should be set for the money.
U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, said the funding will be $1.4 billion for water infrastructure, $1.2 billion for public transportation, at least $100 million for broadband access, $1.8 million for road infrastructure and $71 million for lead pipe abatement, according to the Ohio Capital Journal.
So who sets the priorities? Each member of Congress has his or her own ideas about what should be done with the money, though the truth is those closest to the problems should have the greatest say in developing the solutions. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, is correct when he says mayors and county commissioners will need to get organized quickly.
“The money will come soon; it’s mostly up to local governments and state governments to begin to turn the spigot on and get the money flowing,” he told the Capital Journal recently.
That means knowing what their communities need, knowing what will give them the most value for the dollars to be spent, and how to convince the folks in Washington, D.C., that their projects deserve the funding. And it means being prepared for stiff competition.
Though the numbers being thrown around sound astronomical, they are not limitless; and our communities will find ways to use it up faster than we might imagine. Local folks who hope to use some of that money to help their own constituents had better get their ducks in a row. Now.