Biden White House Gives Ohio a 'C-' for Infrastructure While Pitching American Jobs Plan

The pseudo-report card doesn't just target the conditions of roads and bridges, but also a slew of shortcomings including lack of affordable housing, broadband access and childcare.

Apr 13, 2021 at 4:11 pm
Brent Spence Bridge - Photo: CC
Photo: CC
Brent Spence Bridge

A new "Infrastructure report card" from the White House gives Ohio a C- on a variety of various infrastructure needs — notably, the pseudo-report card doesn't just target the conditions of roads and bridges, but also a slew of shortcomings including lack of affordable housing, broadband access and childcare.

Released Monday, the state-by-state reports arrive as the Biden administration is attempting to build support for its American Jobs Plan. Each state report starts with an identically worded broadside against the "systemic lack of investment" in infrastructure in that particular state. Overall, the reports frame and define the infrastructure challenges in terms of a longstanding, nationwide failure — and while Ohio's grade might not make it an honor student, no state earned better than a C+.

In fact, according to the full release of the Biden administration's report cards, Ohio's C- in infrastructure was matched by 21 other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon,New York and Washington D.C.

Twelve states pulled in solid C's, while six notched technically passing grades with D's and D+'s. At the bottom of the list, Puerto Rico earned the only D-. (Eight states were given report cards but not grades.)

In terms of a hypothetical classroom, it's not the sort of report card that gets framed. No grandparents are going to stick this one on the fridge. But the Biden administration is arguing that new funding is crucial to keep states from failing residents across some very non-hypothetical areas of infrastructure.

According to the Ohio report card:

  • ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Ohio there are 1,377 bridges and over 4,925 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 5.7% in Ohio and on average, each driver pays $506 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations' transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Ohioans who take public transportation spend an extra 75.9% of their time commuting and non-White households are 6.2 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 16% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The AmericanJobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.
  • RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: From 2010 to 2020, Ohio has experienced 29 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.
  • DRINKING WATER: Over the next 20 years, Ohio’s drinking water infrastructure will require $13.4 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.
  • HOUSING: In part due to a lack of available and affordable housing, 681,000 renters in Ohio are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The President proposes investing over $200 billion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.
  • BROADBAND: 6.2% of Ohioans live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 58.2% of Ohioans live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 14% of Ohio households do not have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.
  • CAREGIVING: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.
  • CHILD CARE: In Ohio, there is an estimated $683 million gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 39% of residents live in a childcare desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Ohio and the country.
  • MANUFACTURING: Manufacturers account for more than 16% of total output in Ohio, employing 703,000 workers, or 12.6% of the state’s workforce. The American Job’s Plan will invest $300 billion to retool and revitalize American manufacturers, including providing incentives for manufacturers to invest in innovative energy projects in coal communities.
  • HOME ENERGY: In Ohio, an average low-income family spends 8-10% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The American Jobs Plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.
  • CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: As of 2019, there were 114,388 Ohioans working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in creating more good paying union jobs advancing clean energy production by extending and expanding tax credits for clean energy generation, carbon capture and sequestration and clean energy manufacturing.
  • VETERANS HEALTH: Ohio is home to over 700,000 veterans, 7.9% of whom are women and 49% of whom are over the age of 65. The President is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state of the art care to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. This includes improvements to ensure appropriate care for women and older veterans.