Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state of Ohio Capital Budget into law—his last capital bill as Governor. The billion dollar capital budget funded a wide array of education, mental health, opioid, and community projects.
As in past years, the largest portion of capital appropriations supports repairs, renovations and new primary and secondary education facilities through the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The capital budget provides $625 million to fund 75 districts with projects currently in progress as well as offering funding to 20 new school districts in the next two years. Ohio’s higher education community gained $400 million in project based funding, $16.3 million to support statewide projects such ass and universities including $6.1 million to the Ohio Super Computer Center and OARnet, $8 million to bring higher education institutions and employers together to provide shared equipment to be used for local in-demand workforce training needs through the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program.
The capital budget provides $439 million for local infrastructure projects administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission – an increase compared to previous years – through bond-backed funding as well as revolving loan funding for local infrastructure projects in communities throughout Ohio. An additional $100 million in the capital budget- the maximum biennial amount authorized by the constitution – supports the Clean Ohio program, funding preservation of green space, farmland, and expanded recreational trail opportunities.
Driven in large part by the opioid crisis, the capital budget provided substantial funding to mental health and rehab facilities all over Ohio. The capital budget funded a new behavioral healthcare facility on the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare campus in Columbus, replacing the main hospital there, the busiest in the state. The new $112 million facility will replace the existing facility, which was constructed in 1977 to serve geriatric patients but is no longer optimal for serving its patient population of younger individuals with more severe needs, and $20 M for other mental and community health projects tied to the opioid crisis.
The Capital Bill also supported critical infrastructure needs across state agencies. The largest appropriations to state agencies in the capital bill included:
- $220 million in new appropriations for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to support ongoing major facility renovations as well as general improvements at the 27 state-owned adult correctional institutions.
- $105.7 million for the Department of Administrative Services facility projects, including $50 million to complete the Rhodes Tower exterior, window replacement, and insulation project, $16 million to upgrade end-of-life building infrastructure for the State of Ohio Computer Center, $9.4 million for infrastructure upgrades for the Riffe Center, and $7 million for infrastructure replacements at MARCS tower sites
- $234.6 million for the Department of Natural Resources totaling $234.6 million; and
- $150 million was spent to support economic development projects of local or regional importance that covered nearly all the Ohio counties driven in large part by a local ranking processed coordinated by Governor Kasich, and priorities of the leadership and members of the Ohio General Assembly with projects ranged from arts, historical and cultural, workforce, infrastructure, parks and recreation and health care