YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavoni wants to spend $1 billion to fix underground pipes that are creating several problems in the Valley.
“All across the state, we are dealing with water problems. Not only in northeast Ohio, but in northwest Ohio, southern Ohio, all across the state because of the aged infrastructure that we are sitting on,” he said.
These hidden pipes have caused an overflowing sewer problem along Mill Creek, and high levels of bacteria in the waterways.
The bond issue would replace all underground pipes. Schiavoni says the money could go toward infrastructure, storm water sewers or whatever a particular municipality needs to improve water quality. It wouldn’t be a solution to every problem, however, including the lead issue in Sebring.
He says the problems brought on by old infrastructure need to be corrected immediately.
“When businesses and people are looking to come to the Valley and come to the state, they look at this and they see we are sitting on hundred year old infrastructure.”
Schiavoni says bond issues are not new to Ohio, and that many road and bridge projects are funded with bond dollars.
If approved, he says the state would sell up to $100 million of bonds to investors every year. The total would be capped at $1 billion, then the government would pay the bonds back with interest over 20 years.
“It doesn’t put us in any kind of fiscal peril. It’s fiscally responsible,” Schiavoni said.
He will propose this bond issue in Columbus on Tuesday. If it passes in the House and Senate, it will be on the ballot in November for voters to decide.