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MORPC Matters: Investing in Ohio's infrastructure will pay long-term dividends - The Columbus Dispatch

Joseph Garrity  |  Guest columnist

For decades, infrastructure in Ohio and across the nation has suffered from a systemic lack of investment.

In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave Ohio a C- on its infrastructure report card.

To address this growing problem in Ohio and across the nation, Congress approved the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November.

Simply put, the bill would not have passed without the bipartisan leadership of Ohio’s senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and the U.S. representative from the 3rd District, Joyce Beatty. Our region is fortunate to have members of our congressional delegation who work together for the betterment of our region.

Although the policymaking is over, the real work has just begun.

Based on formula funding alone, Ohio is expected to receive $9.2 billion for federal-aid highway-apportioned programs and $483 million for bridge replacement over the next five years.

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MORPC Matters: Infrastructure investment plan in place for central Ohio growth

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission stands ready to be a resource to communities as we work to bring this needed investment back to central Ohio.

In its capacity as a metropolitan planning organization and as a regional council, MORPC is uniquely positioned to assist local communities in taking advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Along with other competitive grants, such as Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, the Capital Investment Grants program and countless others, we will be on track to address many of the critical infrastructure needs in the central Ohio region.

Attracting this investment will make it easier to connect to the internet at home, reconnect a historically marginalized or underserved neighborhood to much-needed resources and make it easier for you to get to where you go using your transportation mode of choice.

Seeking these funds is no small task, which is why MORPC has created an internal intergovernmental investment team to assist communities across our 15-county region in competing for these dollars. To help our members stay updated on the latest federal investment opportunities, we have created a new online resource page, morpc.org/investing. We also will be adding a new grants officer position to bring this needed investment back to our growing region.

As 2021 comes to an end and we look forward to 2022, we remain committed to supporting all the communities we serve throughout our region. This investment in our infrastructure will impact the prosperity of our communities and the lives of central Ohioans for generations to come. It is up to all of us to work together to ensure that vision becomes a reality.

To learn more about how MORPC is planning for the future growth and sustainability of the region, go to morpc.org.

Joseph Garrity is director of government affairs and community relations at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. MORPC's purpose is to bring communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of the region.