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Government & Politics

Funding for Third Frontier Program in Jeopardy

photo of the audience
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
The audience at last summer’s Third Frontier Commission event where a dozen finalists were each awarded $200,000 in the Opioid Technology Challenge, which sought high-tech ideas for fighting the opioid crisis.";

The fund that the state has used to offer more than a billion dollars for high tech research and development projects since voters approved it in 2005 is running out of money. And there are no announced plans to shore up the Third Frontier program. 

Economic development organizations and business groups are advocating for the Third Frontier, which only has about $180 million left from its last bond issue. Alesha Washington at the Greater Cleveland Partnership says it’s time to look at it.

“Because the last administration did not prioritize it is something to potentially think about reauthorizing.”

Washington said the DeWine administration can always change the name.

“But I think the intent of that type of investment and building the innovative economy that fills in the gaps and where we missed out in the first year of this needs to be a focus.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the Third Frontier may not be able to sustain itself for much longer, but as head of the newly created InnovateOhio office, he hasn’t indicated what might replace it if it closes down.