Washington, DC, Nov. 16, 2007 – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) secured more than $3 million for northeast Ohio programs in the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act bill. The final legislation passed the House of Representatives late Wednesday, and is expected to pass the Senate as well. The president has issued a veto threat against this bill.
“Our nation’s bridges are deteriorating and families are losing their homes,” Brown said. “These federal dollars would boost economic development and local investment in northeast Ohio. The bill provides essential resources to help ensure communities stay safe and families keep their homes.”
The City of Cleveland would receive $850,000 for the Flats East Bank – Road Relocations and Improvements Project to relocate several streets and create one new street and one pedestrian passage. This revitalization project involves the extensive redevelopment of land on the East Side of the Cuyahoga River and includes the demolition of several abandoned buildings, the construction of a riverfront boardwalk, and the construction of a new marina and park consisting of several retail and civic pavilions.
The Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County would receive more than $1.2 million to replace 24 vehicles, purchase communications equipment, and provide assistance to new service providers. The Senior Transportation Connection provides management and coordination services to help communities and organizations pool resources to maximize transportation options for senior citizens.
The White Pond Drive Expansion Project in Akron would receive $670,000 to widen and improve the roadway and create new office space at the White Pond Office Park. This would help ensure that First Energy can establish a new West Akron office on White Pond Drive, with 150 new employees. First Energy’s move would allow Sterling Jewelers to move into First Energy’s building, adding 300 new employees. The city of Akron expects that the project could add approximately 1,950 new jobs at First Energy, Sterling, and the new office Park.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank would receive $368,000 to cover necessary renovation costs to the newly acquired building. The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank serves eight Northeast Ohio counties, including Summit, Stark, Portage, Wayne, Medina, Tuscarawas, Carroll and Holmes. The Foodbank estimates that, in this expanded facility, total distribution of food will increase to 16 million pounds annually over the next decade.
The final Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act also:
Provides an additional $1 billion to repair and maintain the nation’s bridges, a 20 percent increase in total bridge funding. This would be authorized under the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation program, and allocated to states based on a formula that could result in an additional $32.9 million for Ohio’s bridges.
Includes $200 million for HUD Housing Counseling programs, as requested in May by Brown and Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA). Federal funds would be used by non-profit counseling agencies that work one-on-one with borrowers who are trapped in unaffordable subprime loans. With these funds, non-profit agencies will be able to help borrowers work out affordable repayment plans with their lender, or find a new lender to refinance their loans.
Prohibits any funding for a demonstration program for Mexican-domiciled trucking operating outside a 25-mile commercial zone on the border with Mexico. The administration has yet to complete several steps requested by Congress this spring as a precursor to the pilot program.
Provides an additional $336 million to public housing programs.
Increases funding to the Fair Housing program by $500,000.
Provides $75 million in new vouchers to house homeless veterans.
“I strongly urge President Bush not to deny Ohio families and communities these desperately needed funds,” Brown said.