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Infrastructure bills offer much to Ohioans

DEAR EDITOR:

The fifth-worst highway in the U.S. is Ohio’s Interstate 77, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. I-77 stretches all the way from Cleveland until crossing into West Virginia at Marietta. It averages 4.4 fatalities for every hundred miles traveled in rain and snow.

The last time our federal government invested in infrastructure was during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who pushed for our nation’s interstate highway network. Since helping to rebuild countries after World War II, we have neglected our own highways and bridges. We no longer shine as the nation having the most modern cities. It’s time to fix and modernize unsafe structures.

Thanks to President Joseph Biden and Democratic legislators for leading the way to bipartisan passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The approved budget was reduced from the original proposal, the result of compromise on both sides. Here’s how it was paid for: of the $1.2 trillion approved, about half of it comes from previously approved funding and the rest is from unused COVID-19 funding.

Right here in Ohio, we’ll benefit from $9.2 billion in federal aid highway apportionment programs, plus another $483 million for five-year bridge repair and replacement programs. Another five-year commitment will utilize $100 million for broadband expansion, which will reach 259,000 Ohioans who cannot get online for work or school right now. We can look for $1.4 billion to build up our water infrastructure, which will ensure that all Ohioans drink clean, pure water.

Ohioans will be lined up on roadways and bridges rebuilding our cities, employed with the jobs needed for these projects. Ohioans need these jobs that pay very well and offer good benefits.

Polls showed that approximately 70 percent of Americans support President Biden’s infrastructure bill — Democrats, Republicans and independents. People also need the Build Back Better bill, which will utilize a series of tax cuts, credits and payments to help ease logistical costs associated with raising a family. Tax credits for children will fight childhood hunger and poverty. Pre-K for 3 and 4 year-olds, child-care caps, workforce development costs, help in paying for health care, hearing aids and caps on drug costs for seniors and so much more could be included. No one earning less than $400,000 will pay a single penny toward the new bill. Neither bill adds to inflation because the policies they affect will lift our economic growth.

Please remember, benefits are called entitlements because we paid into these benefits through Social Security, Medicare and our taxes. We earned them and are entitled to benefit. Tell your legislators you support these bills.

LINDA COCUZZI RICHTER

Niles

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