Rep. Marcy Kaptur

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, speaks about the recently passed infrastructure bill during a Zoom meeting held recently by Democratic federal legislators from Ohio.

Partnerships across the state and beyond will likely be needed to make sure Ohio maximizes what it can receive from the recently passed infrastructure bill, according to officials.

A delegation of U.S. Democratic Ohio legislators have been stressing the benefits of the bill lately that was passed with strong support from Democrats in the House and Senate, but only some support from Republicans in both chambers.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Republican, was one of the few that supported it. He also worked on the bipartisan committee that crafted the compromise bill.

Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat that represents Ohio’s 9th District near Toledo, said the money from the bill could be used to alleviate rail congestion in the state, as well as funding for Safe Routes to School grants and utility improvements.

“Many of the projects that will be completed because of this measure have been sitting around for a quarter century and it is long overdue for this kind of investment in the USA,” Kaptur said.

However, while Ohio is set to receive a set amount of dollars like any other state, there also will be money made available to federal agencies — such as transportation and water and sewer — that will be available through a competitive grant process.

“We have to think about what we have in common with other parts of the country, as well as our own state,” Kaptur said. “We are going to have to work with our transportation planning organizations across the state, as well as our major leaders at all levels to put together the kind of proposals that can win competing with 49 other states and territories.”

She pointed to travel routes, such as Interstate 75, that runs from Michigan through Ohio and down to Florida.

“All of our little snowbirds that keep traveling down there, back and forth, and all the cargo. How do we use these corridors to be the nexus of the rebuilding of Ohio?” Kaptur posed.

She also pointed to the rail lines still crossing throughout the Buckeye State and how they once were used to bring coal through Ohio to be shipped around the country via the Great Lakes.

“Let’s modernize our rail corridors, let’s move automated goods ... through this state,” Kaptur said. “Let’s look at water infrastructure in a way that we haven’t before because we are the home of freshwater, frankly, for the entire country.”

She added she would like to see work done to improve rail at-grade crossings in the state, as well as modernizing rail bridges and trestles.

Kaptur also said it may be necessary to have projects that separate passenger rail service from cargo rail. She also said a planning group in the state has been investigating the feasibility of a transportation hyperloop which would connect Ohio to New York and Chicago to move goods and people faster.

“We need to look at really revolutionary technologies like that, we cannot be wed to the past,” Kaptur said.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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