LIMA — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown praised Lima officials for the improvements the city has made to its water infrastructure in recent years and took a swipe at state lawmakers for what he called “their lack of focus” in dealing with infrastructure issues.
Brown, a Democrat, was in Lima on Tuesday to discuss the American Jobs Plan with local officials, being joined by Lima Mayor David Berger, Allen County Public Health Department Chair Dr. Wilfred Ellis, and CEO of the West Ohio Community Action Partnership Jackie Fox.
Brown focused on the infrastructure part of the Biden administration proposal, touring and giving remarks at the Lima water treatment plant.
“Infrastructure is more than bridges and highways and roads and tunnels,” Brown said. “It’s also water infrastructure and water systems.”
Brown went on to praise the city for improvements it has made to its water infrastructure in recent years. Lima Mayor David Berger also advocated for the proposal, saying that it would provide funding that would not only update the city’s water systems, but open up new opportunities as well.
“This building was built in 1963, it needs to be renewed of basic plumbing systems, and we don’t have that money,” Berger said. “$20 million is our estimate to redo the basic systems in this building. At the wastewater plant, its $40 million. … fundamental systems that are important for our health and to the environment.”
If the American Jobs Plan is passed and Lima receives adequate funding, Berger wants to go beyond basic upgrades, proposing a new floating solar plant on the Twin Lakes Reservoir behind the plant that could be used to cut costs on the million dollar per year electric bill that the plant produces.
“For this facility the biggest cost is electricity,” Berger said. “Adding a floating solar plant on Twin Lakes would actually be important to the long term economics of the city.”
Brown criticized Ohio state legislators for not focusing on infrastructure, putting more pressure on Congress to get a deal done.
“It’s got to be done in Washington and Columbus,” Brown said. “And Columbus has simply punted on it, so it’s really got to be done on Washington.”
Democrats and Republicans are currently in negotiations over the American Jobs Plan, but the numbers suggest that the two sides are currently at a stalemate, with the $568 billion counteroffer dwarfing the original $2.25 trillion proposal from President Biden. Democrats responded with another proposal of $1.7 trillion, but there is no definite timetable for the a bill to get passed.