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Economy

Ohio's Sen. Brown Has Plan for President Trump's Promised Infrastructure Funding

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KEVIN NIEDERMIER
/
WKSU
Senator Brown (at podium) at Merwin's Wharf on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland talking about infrastructure repair. With him (L-R) are Eric Hauge of ArcelorMittal, Port of Cleveland President Will Friedman and NOACA Director Grace Gallucci.

Ohio Sen.Sherrod Brown has rolled out an infrastructure rebuilding blueprint he and other senators call a guide for President Donald Trump.

On the bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Brown talked about the 10-year infrastructure plan which includes billions for roads, bridges, sewer and water systems and public housing and transportation.

“Several things will be part of that. The products, whenever possible, iron, steel, concrete, other things, should be made in the United States of America by American workers. We should pay prevailing wage, good union wages for these projects. ... We need real money invested in these projects, not Goldman Sachs kind of private financial incentives, but really working with real dollars to build these perojects.”

In the background was the crumbling Irishtown Bend hillside which would halt shipping if it collapses into the river. With Brown was Port of Cleveland President Will Friedman, who is requesting federal help for a $48 million plan to stabilize the hillside.

“Due to wear and tear over the years, this hillside is not in good shape. We’ve studied it extensively and it’s imperative that we make investments soon. This is not an expense we can put off any longer.”

The ArcelorMittal steel mill is down river and depends on the Cuyahoga. Company Vice President and General Manager Eric Hauge says repairing Irishtown Bend is crucial.

“This river will bring in over 4 million tons of iron ore from Minnesota, limestone from Michigan. In addition to 4 million tons coming to Cleveland, over 10 million tons of additional raw materials come through the port, come through the river to our other businesses.

Hauge says 90 percent of ArcelorMittal's steel is shipped by truck, so good roads and bridges are also important to the company. Though President Trump has promised $1 trillion for infrastructure, his preliminary budget also includes cuts in that area. The White House says funding will be shifted to infrastructure from inefficient programs that will be eliminated.