Ohio's Senate Minority Leader, Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, introduced a bill to authorize $1 billion of state bonds for sewer and water projects.

CHICAGO — An Ohio lawmaker wants to ask voters for authorization to borrow up to $1 billion of bonds to finance sewer and water projects across the state.

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, the minority leader, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3 this week. The bill would allow the state to float $1 billion of new money bonds for water and sewer infrastructure if approved by voters. The state would issue $100 million annually over the next 10 years under the proposal.

"We have the opportunity to improve our drinking water, lower environmental hazards, and increase protection for our natural resources, all while creating thousands of jobs and boosting the economy," Schiavoni said in a release. "This is good legislation. I hope we can get it passed quickly."

The senator cited a recent federal Environmental Protection Agency assessment that estimated Ohio needs $15.5 billion in wastewater infrastructure work and $12.2 billion in drinking water infrastructure work.

He wants it to go the March ballot, according to local reports.

Ohio voters in May 2014 approved the issuance of $1.9 billion of bonds as part of the third renewal of the State Capital Improvement Program. The Buckeye State will issue $175 million a year for the next five years and $200 million a year for the remaining five years for local government projects.

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