Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) develops and advances policies and practices that value our urban cores and metropolitan regions as the Ohio's economic drivers. Through advocacy, research, outreach, and education, GOPC strives to create a policy and political climate that allow our communities to stabilize and thrive for statewide economic growth.
Therefore, it is imperative that state policymakers, including the next governor, be well informed about the issues and opportunities facing Ohio. What follows, is a series of questions that GOPC believes candidates should have answers for going into the 2018 election.
Increase opportunities for job growth and development by redeveloping brownfields
Brownfields—environmentally contaminated sites—are often located on real estate that offers prime redevelopment opportunities, however it can cost $15,000 to $30,000 per acre to remediate. What would you do to help communities return these sites to productive use?
What role will JobsOhio play in your overall strategy for community and economic development?
Ohio’s current brownfield remediation program, the Brownfield Revitalization Program, primarily supports manufacturers, la rge employers, and offer loans. Would you change the program at all?
Experts estimate there are over 9,000 brownfields in Ohio; they are located in every county in the state.
Ohio’s previous investment in brownfield redevelopment leveraged $4.67 in new economic activity for every $1 invested by the state into brownfield clean-up.
Research completed by GOPC found that for every one job created or sustained through activities directly tied to remediating a brownfield, more than one additional job was indirectly created or sustained.
During the Clean Ohio Revitalization Program (2002-2013), $1.4 billion were annually contributed to the state’s GDP as result of remediation and $500 million in household and business earnings were generated through remediated sites
Brownfields are located in places where infrastructure is already in place; development in greenfields usually requires new road infrastructure and utilities and transportation solutions that connect workers to work sites.
Better connect workers to jobs by innovating Ohio’s transportation system
One of the biggest challenges business owners cite is employees who have unreliable transportation. What will you do to help connect ready-to-work workers to available jobs?
Ohio’s population is aging, especially in Ohio’s rural areas. How will you help Ohioans’ “age in place” and maintain their quality of life, which includes accessing medical care, grocery stores, and other critical services?
One bicyclist and two pedestrians are killed or seriously injured every day in Ohio. As more people bike and walk for recreation and to get to their destinations—including workplaces—what will you to do protect these Ohioans?
Since 2002 the state has cut funding for public transportation by nearly $25 million; Ohio now spends only $0.56 per capita on transit, less than both Dakotas and Wyoming.
Other states are investing in public transit, including the state of Georgia, which just approved nearly $100 million in funding towards transit projects statewide, the single largest investment in transit in the state’s history.
Creating safe roads not only protects all roadway users, including drivers, but also saves money by avoiding collision and injury costs.
33 states currently have implemented active transportation polices and ensure roadways are developed and maintained to accommodate all users, including pedestrians and cyclists.
Bolster economic competitiveness by ensuring communities can engineer long-term prosperity
How will you ensure that communities, small and large, have the ability to attract talent and business?
How would your administration align state economic development strategies with the needs of Ohio’s smaller, older industrial cities?
What will your administration do to ensure communities have the resources to create redevelopment opportunities from vacant and/or blighted properties?
Infrastructure investments are necessary but expensive. What is the balance between fixing and maintain existing infrastructure, and building new systems?
Other states, such as Michigan and Massachusetts, have broadened their economic development portfolios to include investments that create quality places that attract talent and businesses. Placemaking and community development are part of the state’s economic development strategy. For example, Michigan provides grants to communities that want to undertake a comprehensive plan. Those communities that do planning and implement strategies approved by the state become certified as “Redevelopment Ready Communities” that are more aggressively marketed by the state to site selectors.
Other states, like Pennsylvania, consider how characteristics like population size or distress level impact how policy is implemented in different places because solutions that are “one-size-fits-all” rarely get the right resources to the right places.
Ohio’s population is growing at rates slower than the national rate. Building new roads today creates additional costs that we will not be able to pay tomorrow. “Fix-it-first”, meaning focusing on maintaining our existing infrastructure assets, is a more economical way to ensure a strong, connected transportation system.