Financing was finalized Tuesday for the long-awaited McCord Road underpass in Holland, and work should begin in a few months.
Lucas County commissioners appropriated nearly $500,000 for the project, which will include digging out an underpass at the Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on McCord and constructing a bridge wide enough for four tracks. The majority of the $30 million project will be from federal funds, with village of Holland money and also some $2.3 million in grants and loans from the State Capital Improvements Program.
That type of state funding, which comes from a local public-works bond, will be on the May 6 ballot for renewal. The bond, which was first passed in 1987, is vital for municipalities and helps create jobs, said Michael Miller, director of the Ohio Public Works Commission, the state agency that administers the program.
“We think we have a really good story to tell,” Mr. Miller said.
Representatives of Strong Ohio Communities, a campaign committee promoting the program’s renewal, met Tuesday with members of The Blade editorial board.
The McCord project is expected to go to bid May 8, with construction to start some time after Memorial Day, Lucas County Engineer Keith Earley said.
More than 24,000 vehicles use the McCord grade crossing on a normal day, while as many as 100 trains per day use the tracks. A Springfield High student was killed in 2009 and a second lost a leg when the two tried to run across the track in front of an Amtrak passenger train and were struck.
A 20 percent match was needed to receive federal funding for the project, financing Mr. Earley said would be difficult to obtain without the Capital Improvements Program. The program pumps state revenue into infrastructure programs on a per-capita basis across Ohio.
“It would be a devastating loss if it [SCIP] did not continue,” Mr. Earley said.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is the McCord project’s lead agency.
Issue 1 would generate $1.875 billion over 10 years in infrastructure funds paid for from bonds. That money can only be spent on those projects, Mr. Miller said. For the first five years, $175 million would be disbursed annually, while $200 million would be distributed to local governments annually during the next five years.
Voters have renewed the bond program twice since it first passed. It does not raise taxes, as the bond is repaid with funds built into future state budgets.