Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave to university leaders the power of recommending how the state will spend its capital budget for higher education, and university leaders recently submitted a list with a proposed price tag of $350 million. The Higher Education Capital Funding Commission, comprised of representatives from 37 universities, submitted recommendations on how to spend that money on college construction projects.

ACT Ohio is encouraged that the state is willing and able to spend these funds on construction projects at such invaluable state institutions. ACT Ohio also has great faith that the schools have distributed the money accordingly — to get the most “bang for the buck” while also addressing pressing needs.

But mixed in ACT Ohio’s support for this construction spending is the hope that the money is not wasted away through the use of unqualified, untrained and non-Ohio construction labor.

ACT Ohio is steadfast in its belief that the only way these construction projects will be a success, no matter how the decisions to fund them were made, is if they are built with the highly skilled and trained construction trades workers right here in Ohio.

ACT Ohio also strongly advocates that important state laws such as Ohio’s Prevailing Wage Law are fully administered on all of these publicly funded projects — to help ensure they are built right by qualified construction craftspeople who are properly paid for their work.

ACT Ohio further advocates for the full use of Project Labor Agreements on there projects, to further help protect the state’s possible $350 million investment in its future — because through PLAs, these projects will be protected by having Ohio residents who are trained and safe working on these jobs.

The recommendations by the funding commission are based on a tentative $350 million budget, subject to changes from Kasich and the Ohio legislature. Of that total, Ohio State University gets the most, about $82 million for projects including $50 million for the new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building. The $50 million allocation for the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building is the highest amount recommended for any one project, followed by $28.8 million allocated to the University of Cincinnati for renovation to the Medical Sciences Building.

These important projects, and the many others the state has committed to constructing at our higher education institutions, deserve the integrity and skills Ohio’s construction workforce will bring to them … and Ohio’s trained construction workforce of tax-paying citizens deserves to be employed on these projects.

For more information on the higher education construction budget, click these links:
Ohio Higher Education Capital Funding Collaborative
Kasich Calls on University Presidents to Write Construction Budget