MAHONING VALLEY Projects vie for state funding

The Mahoning Valley is expected to receive $5 million to $6 million in funding from the state's capital bill.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Sixteen Mahoning Valley projects that include road improvements, building expansions and new construction will be considered for funding from the state's capital bill.
Local government, quasi-government and nonprofit agencies submitted funding requests for $27 million worth of projects to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is facilitating the selection process for local state legislators.
The legislators will rank the projects and submit a list of the finalists for funding from the Ohio Capital Appropriations Budget, better known as the capital bill, said Barbara Ewing, the chamber's vice president of public policy. It should take one to two months to finalize the local list, she said.
Ten of the project requests are from Mahoning County, five from Trumbull County and one from Columbiana County.
Expectations: The Valley received about $5 million of the $120 million available in the 2000 capital bill. Ewing said she expects the Valley to receive about $5 million to $6 million from this year's capital bill, which should have about $120 million available.
Ewing did not know how many local projects would be selected for submission to the state for capital bill consideration, saying it would be part of the discussion among the local legislators.
Every two years, the state sells bonds and spreads around the proceeds for capital projects. It is not known when the bonds will be sold, but Ewing said it probably will be after the November general election. The Ohio General Assembly determines which projects are funded from the capital bill.
Change in process: Unlike previous years, local state legislators are working together to prioritize projects and make sure money goes to the most worthy proposals, Ewing said. The legislators have acknowledged that money will be hard to come by this time around, making it even more important for them to work as a unified group.
The chamber mailed questionnaires to local government officials in September asking them to submit project requests of at least $500,000. The deadline to turn in the requests was late last week.

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