Voter approval of Issue 1 on the May 6 ballot was welcome news to local officials whose communities use the State Capital Improvement Fund to help pay for infrastructure projects.
Canal Winchester, Groveport and Madison Township lobbied for continuation of the program, with both Canal Winchester and Groveport city councils, as well as Madison Township trustees, publicly supporting the measure.
According to unofficial final results, Issue 1 was approved by 790,691 votes in favor (65 percent) to 424,071 against (35 percent).
The passage of Issue 1 renewed the State Capital Improvement Fund program for the third time since it was instituted in 1987, providing a 10-year, $1.875-billion fund for local municipalities' capital improvements. These funds are distributed through the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Canal Winchester Public Works Director Matt Peoples said that city's streets and water system "would not be in the good condition they are" without the OPWC funding.
"As I reported at council previously, Canal Winchester has received $21.7 million over the years," Peoples said. "This funding has been used on four Gender Road projects, three Waterloo Street projects, two High Street projects, Columbus Street, Washington Street, Diley Road, Thrush Drive, the Tanktown roadway and water line project, a water line project on Washington and Columbus, a Hocking Street project and a sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration removal project.
"Not only have we obviously benefitted from the funding of these projects, but what this has allowed us to do is keep up maintenance on the residential streets through our annual street CIP programs that use general fund money," he said.
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall called the program "a lifesaver."
The current reconstruction of Port Road in Groveport, at a cost of $1.05 million, was paid for entirely through the State Capital Improvement Fund program, with no local money involved, she said.
"This allows us to put more money toward other needs," Hall said. "With the high cost of replacing aging infrastructure, this program is a lifesaver. Most local entities can bear the total cost for maintaining streets, but like everything else, streets can only last so long until a replacement is needed."
Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the township hasn't had an opportunity to use the state program since 2011 when Blair, Bixford and Eastwick roads were resurfaced, but she said it is an important resource and she's thankful to have it available.
The program provided $272,555 toward the 2011 project.
"We are very pleased Issue 1 passed, as any improvements in our area are a positive for everyone," Brobst said.