WILMINGTON — U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio, 15th District) made several local stops Monday, holding office hours for constituents, and visiting the manufacturer Ferno, Clinton Memorial Hospital and the News Journal.
“We need a long-term transportation bill. We need one that’s paid for; we need one that allows us to do projects like the Brent Spence Bridge down in Cincinnati that is going to be a billion dollar project by itself,” said Stivers in an interview.
The bridge is a part of the Interstates 71 and 75 corridor that “is a backbone” which goes from Detroit to Florida, Stivers said.
As such, the corridor is “super-important to anybody who wants to get north-south in America,” added Stivers.
According to Stivers, an obstacle to a Brent Spence Bridge replacement project is that in the United States, “only about $30 billion a year” is spent on infrastructure. With that amount, it makes it hard to do “big, important transportation projects,” said the congressman.
A Brent Spence Bridge replacement project is “really important” to him, Stivers said. I-71, of course, crosses northern Clinton County.
Also of importance to him is changing federal tax policy, but he said it probably won’t happen this year.
“We’ve got to get our economy moving again,” said Stivers.
He went on to say this country has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and that successful small businesses are taxed more than successful big businesses.
Though the effects on the overall U.S. economy would be less than a change in tax policy, Stivers said the export-import bank needs to be reauthorized. After the U.S. export-import bank expired June 30, America is the only major trading country in the world that doesn’t have one, according to Stivers.
“We compete against about 30 to 40 industrialized countries, and every single one has an export credit finance agency like the bank. It is pretty silly for us not to have an export credit finance agency,” he added.
Elaborating on the issue, Stivers said, “There are some folks who believe the private marketplace can do this all by itself, but our experience since June is that it can’t.”
The Republican lawmaker said, “I’m all for privatizing when it works. But if it can’t work, we need to have a way that helps our businesses export.”
He said he is working on a lot of proposed bills, including one that would expand off-shore energy production and help to fund roads and bridges.
Another bill he is the prime sponsor for has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. It would allow privately insured credit unions to join the federal home loan bank, thus increasing the amount of available mortgage money, Stivers said.
Stivers said he talked “a little bit” about workforce development programming when he visited Ferno.
He said he favors a more flexible approach on workforce development, one that provides funds to employers with unfilled jobs, instead of having workforce training dollars go to educational institutions.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.