BlueGreen Alliance Report Shows Ohio Stands to Gain, Sustain 167,700 Jobs by Repairing and Upgrading Infrastructure

In Canton, Ohio labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 167,700 jobs could be created or sustained across the state’s economy by making much-needed investments in the basic systems we rely on every day.

June 18, 2014

CANTON, OH – Today in Canton, Ohio labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 167,700 jobs could be created or sustained across the state’s economy by making much-needed investments in the basic systems we rely on every day—water, transit, energy, roads and bridges and communication systems. Representatives from United Steelworkers (USW), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Canton City Councilman John Mariol called for action on these statewide investments.

The report identifies needed investments—some of which are already in the planning stages—that would both have the greatest impact on job creation and protect communities from the effects of climate change.

“The long list of repairs from communities across the state holds tremendous potential to protect communities from the effects of climate change and create thousands of new jobs along the way,” said Ron Roberts of USW Local 1123. “Ensuring that the steel and other necessary materials are made in the U.S. can go even further to benefit Ohio economically.”

The report, Repair Ohio: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Infrastructure for Climate Change, identifies the number of direct jobs from affected sectors—such as construction, equipment operation, and maintenance work—as well as indirect jobs from industries that service those sectors and from the supply chain. In addition, the report estimates the number of induced jobs as workers buy goods and services and increase demand for retail, housing, and financial services.

“Inefficient and crumbling infrastructure systems use more limited natural resources than updated, fully functioning systems. Aging infrastructure also produces more emissions,” said Christopher Maxie of NWF. “It’s important that our leaders recognize that this challenge threatens our economic growth potential, but it’s also a significant opportunity that can benefit us all.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years. In 2013, the nation earned a “D+” average. Ohio’s “C-“grade wasn’t much better. The report card found the state has $14.2 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs. Roughly 25 percent of the state’s bridges are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

“Investments in our infrastructure will create much-needed jobs in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, research and other industries and protect the health of our communities and environment,” said Mike Green of USW Local 9094. “We must work toward a better vision for our communities—one where both national and state infrastructure systems are a source of our prosperity.”

The release is part of Repair America, the BlueGreen Alliance’s campaign to fix the basic systems people rely on every day—for power, water, communication, and transportation—to create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier. The Repair America effort further builds on EPA’s efforts to limit carbon emissions from power plants, increase the use of renewable energy, and expand energy efficiency efforts.

“The bottom line is that these kinds of investments mean jobs for places like Canton and make sure basic services we need  are there when we need them,” said Mariol. “Cities can’t do it alone. All levels of government need to work together to repair Ohio and America.”

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AKRON, OH – Today in Akron, Ohio labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 167,700 jobs could be created across the state’s economy by making much-needed investments in the basic systems we rely on everyday—water, wastewater, transit, energy, roads and bridges and communication systems. Representatives from United Steelworkers, the National Wildlife Federation, David Silver, a retired American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) member, Tri-County Regional Labor Council AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-treasurer Tom Morneweck and Sandra Kurt, Summit County Council called for action on these state-wide investments.

The report identifies needed investments—some of which are already in the planning stages—that would both have the greatest impact on job creation and protect communities from the effects of climate change.

“The long list of repairs from communities across the state holds tremendous potential to protect communities from the effects of climate change and create thousands of new jobs along the way,” said Ron Roberts of USW Local 1123. “Ensuring that the steel and other necessary materials are made in the U.S. can go even further to benefit Ohio economically.”

The report, Repair Ohio: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Infrastructure for Climate Change, identifies the number of direct jobs from affected sectors—such as construction, equipment operation, and maintenance work—as well as indirect jobs from industries that service those sectors and from the supply chain. In addition, the report estimates the number of induced jobs as workers buy goods and services and increase demand for retail, housing, and financial services.

“Inefficient and crumbling infrastructure systems use more limited natural resources than updated, fully functioning systems. Aging infrastructure also produces more emissions,” said Christopher Maxie of NWF. “It’s important that our leaders recognize that this challenge threatens our economic growth potential, but it’s also a significant opportunity that can benefit us all.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years. In 2013, the nation earned a “D+” average. Ohio’s “C-“grade wasn’t much better. The report card found the state has $14.2 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs. Roughly 25 percent of the state’s bridges are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

“Investments in our infrastructure will create much-needed jobs in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, research and other industries and protect the health of our communities and environment,” said Mike Green, USW Local 9094. “We must work toward a better vision for our communities—one where both national and state infrastructure systems are a source of our prosperity.”

The release is part of Repair America, the BlueGreen Alliance’s campaign to fix the basic systems people rely on every day—for power, water, communication, and transportation—to create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier. The Repair America effort further builds on EPA’s efforts to limit carbon emissions from power plants, increase the use of renewable energy, and expand energy efficiency efforts.

“If we don’t invest now, it’ll be far more costly to all of us in the long run—especially as climate change brings more destructive weather,” said David Silver, a retired AFSCME member. “We all rely on power, water, roads, communications, bridges and transit systems every day. We need them to be efficient and dependable. A modern, reliable foundation will help us build a strong economy for the future.”

“In the past, Americans worked together to build this backbone of systems we rely on every day,” said Tom Morneweck with the AFL-CIO. “We owe it to ourselves—and future generations—to once again join together to fix them. This is a challenge we must accept, and hit the ground running on today.”

“The costs of inaction are increasing, especially as extreme weather events become more severe,” said Summit County Council Member At-Large Sandra Kurt. “Taking action to better protect ourselves and avert the worst effects of climate change, such as repairing our most basic systems, will create jobs and a more resilient economy.”

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