COLUMBUS, OH – Today, Ted Strickland joined State Representative Denise Driehaus outside the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati to discuss his Ohio Families First proposal to help rebuild America’s infrastructure and create more good paying jobs for Ohioans through the creation of a national Infrastructure Bank.
The Brent Spence Bridge is currently ranked as the No. 1 infrastructure emergency in the United States. Strickland first released his infrastructure proposal at an event outside the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway Bridge in Toledo.
“The Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati serves as a vital commercial artery for our entire country and is in dire need of repairs -- it is a powerful example and symbol of why we must rebuild and strengthen America’s infrastructure at every level,” said Ted Strickland. “As governor, even in the midst of a global recession, I prioritized historic investments in our infrastructure in order to help grow our economy, improve our quality of life and lay the foundation for our state’s success – and we did it while balancing every budget and cutting taxes for every Ohioan. But right now we’re not making these kinds of investments because Washington politicians have the wrong priorities – they’re looking out for their rich and powerful friends, while Ohio’s working families are paying the price. We should be cracking down on tax loopholes that let well-connected corporations avoid paying their fair share through dishonest, offshore accounting manipulations, and use these resources to invest in America’s roads, water infrastructure and transportation systems. Investing in our country’s infrastructure will create thousands of good-paying jobs, revitalize communities across our state, and help working families start getting ahead – these are the priorities that we need to return to Washington, and that’s what I will fight for in the U.S. Senate.”
“Ted is passionate about improving and strengthening Ohio’s infrastructure because he understands that these kinds of investments benefit working families at every level and will set the stage for our future economic success,” said Representative Denise Driehaus. “In Cincinnati, the Brent Spence Bridge represents exactly the kind of large and critical infrastructure challenge that would benefit from Ted’s proposal. We need a leader like Ted Strickland to fight for priorities like better roads and bridges that actually matter to Ohioans who work for a living.”
The Infrastructure Bank would be a lending authority that financed significant, high-potential infrastructure investments throughout the country. By providing low-interest loans to state and local investors and helping stakeholders access capital for projects, a national Infrastructure Bank would make meaningful projects come to life. The Infrastructure Bank could help develop and prioritize investments in a variety of infrastructure areas, including: roads, bridges and public transportation systems; water infrastructure; the expansion of high-speed broadband internet; energy programs; and intermodal transportation.
Strickland is proposing to fund the initial capitalization of the Bank by targeting and closing loopholes that allow for tax inversions – the practice of large, multi-national companies shifting their headquarters outside of the U.S. on paper to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while still keeping their actual operations in the United States. According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, corporate inversions will cost the U.S. Treasury as much as $40 billion over the next ten years. Borrowers of funds would pay back the loans following the completion of the projects, making the costs to the federal government following the initial investment fairly low. The Bank could also help match and attract billions of dollars in additional public and private investment, enabling many large-scale projects to finally get off the ground.
As governor, Strickland made historic investments in Ohio’s infrastructure: Strickland’s administration had the largest road construction season in history, aggressively financed water and waste systems, developed public-private partnerships to expand high-speed internet like Broadband Ohio and Connect Ohio, and invested millions in public works projects, setting the stage for Ohio to emerge from the national recession as the 5th fastest growing economy in the country. In contrast, Senator Portman voted for Republican budgets that cut investments in transportation infrastructure by 32 percent in 2013 and 28 percent in 2012; voted against creating a national infrastructure bank; and has repeatedly voted against transportation and highway funding authorizations.
Portman Voted Against Establishing A $10 Billion National Infrastructure Bank. In November 2011, Portman voted against a “Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would provide $50 billion for spending on transportation and infrastructure systems, plus $10 billion for the establishment of a national infrastructure bank. It would be offset with a 0.7 percent surtax on individuals with annual incomes exceeding $1 million.” The motion was rejected 51-49. [CQ, 11/3/11, S. 1769, Vote 195, 11/3/11]
Portman Was One Of 18 Senators To Vote Against The 2014 Highway Bill. In July 2014, Portman voted against: “Passage of the bill that would reauthorize federal-aid highway and transit programs through Dec. 19, 2014, and transfer roughly $8 billion in other federal funds to the Highway Trust Fund. Costs would be offset by extending customs fees and boosting tax compliance, including requiring additional information on tax returns relating to mortgage interest, penalizing those who file for child tax credits without meeting certain requirements and increasing levies on tax-delinquent Medicare service providers.” The bill passed, 79-18. [CQ, 7/29/14; H.R. 5021, Vote 248, 7/29/14]
Portman Was One Of 19 Senators To Vote Against MAP-21. In June 2012, Portman voted against: “Adoption of the conference report on the bill that would authorize federal highway, mass transit and safety programs through fiscal 2014 at current levels with inflationary increases for certain programs. It would provide $21.2 billion for the Highway Trust Fund, $80 billion in contract authority for programs administered by the Federal Highway Administration in fiscal 2013 and 2014, and $21.3 billion for programs administered by the Federal Transit Administration.” The report was adopted, 74-19. [CQ, 6/29/12; H.R. 4348, Vote 172, 6/29/12]