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* News Release *
 
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
For Immediate Release

COUNTY ENGINEER ENDORSES STATE ISSUE 1

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens issues the following statement in support of State Issue 1:

On November 8th, Butler County and Ohio voters will be asked to vote on State Issue 1. The provisions of this ballot issue include further funding of the very successful State Capital Improvement Program (SCIP). This program has efficiently provided direct financial assistance to local governments for improvements to existing infrastructure. It has been critical to Butler County where explosive growth has dictated that we spend road and bridge funds on expanding the roadway grid while maintaining what we already have. The SCIP program has enabled the Butler County Engineer's Office (BCEO) to replace aging bridges and culverts, fix dangerous intersections, and repair and widen overburdened roads. This frees up more local funds that can be used as match money for major federal grants to help us build a safer, more efficient transportation system that accommodates today's needs.

It is imperative that the State Capital Improvement Program continue. The BCEO and local governments critically need State Issue 1 to continue funding infrastructure improvements that include not only roads and bridges, but also storm and sanitary sewer systems, solid waste treatment systems, and water supply facilities.

Over $90 million in SCIP funds have been availed to Butler County and its communities since the inception of this program, resulting in nearly $203 million worth of improvements. The Butler County Engineer's Office has completed 280 projects totaling $29 million with the help of SCIP funding. Specifically, the BCEO has replaced or repaired 59 bridges and 192 culverts, constructed twelve roadway improvements, upgraded ten hazardous intersections, paved several miles of roadway, and performed several drainage improvements. While all of these projects have been critical, a few are particularly noteworthy:

  • Port Union Road widening;
  • State Route 122 widening;
  • Morgan Ross Road improvements;
  • Five Points intersection improvement;
  • Howe Road bridge replacement over Elk Creek;
  • Cox Road extension and upgrade to Hamilton Mason Road;
  • River Road upgrade and slip repairs.

The Butler County Engineer's Office has utilized SCIP money to develop numerous bridge replacement packages that have helped reduce the number of load-restricted bridges on our roadways. This funding source also allows us to expedite bridge replacements more quickly than through the Federal process. We can program several SCIP-funded bridge projects at any given time and reasonably expect funds to be available within six to twelve months. Federal funds, while critical for large projects, can take several years to leverage.

We are also able to use SCIP funds as local match money for Federal grants. This is how we were able to widen Cincinnati Dayton Road from I-75 to Tylersville Road in West Chester Township. Another recent example of this was our partnering with the City of Fairfield to upgrade Muhlhauser Road and the State Route 4 / Muhlhauser intersection -- a $10 million project.

Safer roads, smoother traffic flow, and easier access that allow businesses to thrive. Butler County has clearly benefitted from the SCIP program and stands to gain even more if Issue 1 passes, thereby continuing this crucial funding source. And the best part is, it does not raise taxes but simply authorizes the State to issue bonds for important programs. Funds for repayment of Issue 1 bonds are already built into Ohio's future budgets so again, Issue 1 will not increase taxes. Moreover, programs made possible by Issue 1 will generate new revenues for state and local governments by helping expand our job base statewide.

Issue 1 will also make Ohio and its local communities more economically competitive by providing grants to local governments to prepare job ready sites for new businesses and job creation.

Issue 1 enjoys strong bi-partisan support in the Ohio General Assembly as well as from county commissioners, mayors, township trustees, county engineers, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and business and labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO.

Join me, your Butler County Engineer, in support of State Issue 1 on November 8th. Please vote YES on Issue 1.

Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S.
Butler County Engineer

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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