Defense proposal has $18M for Valley

By Elise Franco

A spending bill for fiscal year 2011 would include $37.5 million for projects in U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s 17th District.

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U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-17)

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Warren Mayor Michael J. O'Brien

The House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee announced Tuesday that some $18 million is allocated for projects such as advanced metals technology, biometrics and alternative energy in the Mahoning Valley.

“We’re just really excited about taking the research and products in the community to the next level,” said Ryan, of Niles, D-17th, who is on the subcommittee. “It’s a major jump-start to our technology initiative.”

The other portion of the money would go to the Akron area for sev- eral multimillion-dollar projects.

Though the appropriations were approved by the defense subcommittee, the bill still must pass the full House Appropriations Committee, full House of Representatives and Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama.

Ryan said he’s not worried, and the hardest part is past.

“The number may change a little bit. Sometimes it goes up or down,” he said. “It just passed the defense subcommittee, which is the initial and most substantial step to get it in the bill, so everything else is just tweaking the bill.”

One project has caught the attention of Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien — a $4.7 million program that would partner the nonprofit Tech Belt Energy Innovative Center in Warren with the Youngstown Business Incubator and Youngstown State University.

The project is called Ohio Enhanced Defense Alternate Energy Suppliers Program and would identify new technologies to improve fuel economy and provide alternate energy and power sources for defense applications.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Congressman Ryan has secured funding to facilitate the development of Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in downtown Warren,” O’Brien said Tuesday in a news release. “This is a key element for continued development in the city — bringing new vitality to downtown and new job growth to the region.”

YSU also was allocated $3.5 million for a program that would advance development of a lightweight, cost-effective material to be used for force protection, possibly for military transport vehicles, according to the news release.

Ryan said the allocation of this money isn’t just for show, and he intends to secure funding each year.

“This isn’t some esoteric exercise here. We’re getting defense money that’s driving manufacturing in the United States,” he said. “This isn’t stimulus money or a one-shot deal. It’s money you can get on the committee that happens every year.”

Local projects

$4.7 million: Youngstown State University will administer a program in conjunction with the Tech Belt Energy Innovative Center in Warren and the Youngstown Business Incubator to identify new technologies to improve fuel economy and provide alternate energy and power sources for defense applications.

$3.5 million: YSU will help advance the development of a viable, lightweight, cost- efficient, nanocomposite material that can be used for force protection. The tested materials will be ready for specific field applications of benefit to soldiers, such as force protection for military transport vehicles.

$3 million: YSU and YBI will research new methods of making stainless steel more durable and resistant to corrosion, which would dramatically reduce energy consumption in energy intensive industrial processes.

$1.5 million: YSU and YBI will develop hardware and software that establishes a link to each patient’s portable health-care card record. Funding will be used to establish a Biometrics Information Security and Image Science Research Center that will foster technological and economic growth in Northeast Ohio.

$4.75 million: YSU and YBI will use the funding to improve the fielding and sustainment of weapons systems by designing and simulating the platform in a digital environment. The project will conduct a larger-scale demonstration of Model Based Enterprise tools to establish and validate procedures and processes.

Source: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan

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