Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Oct. 26 the first round of water infrastructure grant funding awarded as part of a new, statewide initiative to help build a stronger foundation for improved quality of life for Ohio's families and continued economic growth for Ohio's communities.
A total of $250 million in grant funding will be invested in water infrastructure projects as part of the new Ohio BUILDS initiative. The first round of water infrastructure grants announced awards $93 million to 54 projects that impact communities in 60 Ohio counties. The remainder of the water infrastructure grants will be awarded in the coming weeks and will ultimately impact communities in every county in Ohio.
Funds awarded will help reduce or eliminate the local financial burden associated with critical infrastructure needs such as the construction of new water systems; the replacement of aging water lines; and the installation new water mains. Grants also will fund projects to prevent sewer system backups and replace failing household sewage treatment systems with new sewers.
"These grants are about strengthening our future, our people and our communities," said DeWine. "We want our kids and grandkids to stay in Ohio, and clean water is essential to the health and future of our state. Protecting and ensuring that every community in Ohio has access to safe and clean water has been our mission from the start, and with these grants, we are continuing our mission to provide access to economic development tools that will help communities grow and thrive well into the future."
"From the beginning of our administration, Governor DeWine and I have made water quality and protecting our natural resources in Ohio a priority, but water quality isn't just about the environment and our health, it's also about our economic future," said Husted. "Investing this one-time money we have on infrastructure will improve our quality of life today and protect it for future generations."
The new Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grants are a continuation of DeWine's H2Ohio initiative, which launched in 2019 to focus on ensuring plentiful, clean and safe water for communities across the state. In addition to investing in strategies to reduce algal blooms on Lake Erie and other bodies of water statewide, H2Ohio has also awarded $15 million in grants for water infrastructure projects.
Ohio BUILDS (Broadband, Utilities, and Infrastructure for Local Development Success) will focus not only on strengthening Ohio's communities through water infrastructure upgrades, but it also will make other necessary investments in targeted solutions that impact quality of life such as broadband expansion, brownfield redevelopment, the demolition of blighted buildings and more.
The Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grants were funded by the Ohio General Assembly as part of House Bill 168, sponsored by State Representatives Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta), with funding that was appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Ohio BUILDS grant programs for broadband expansion, blighted building demolition and brownfield redevelopment are funded in Ohio's current operating budget.
Additional announcements regarding Ohio BUILDS projects that will strategically invest to transform lives and strengthen Ohio's future will be made in the coming months.
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