Portman Hosts Infrastructure Roundtable at Eastgate

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Public and private-sector leaders updated U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on regional infrastructure projects they are pursuing during a roundtable he hosted Friday morning. 

Organizations participating in the roundtable, which was held at the offices of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, included Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Western Reserve Port Authority, Youngstown State University, Brite Energy Innovators and Youngstown CityScape. Youngstown city officials also participated in the program. 

Portman, R-Ohio, was the lead Republican negotiator for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, according to a news release issued by his office following the meeting.

“The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that I helped negotiate includes historic funding for more infrastructure projects than ever before, and I am encouraged that communities like this one across Ohio are taking advantage to promote new opportunities for economic growth,” he said in the release.

Initiatives discussed at the roundtable icluded the region’s application for $25 million from the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity – or Raise – grant program for the proposed Logistics Innovation and Vehicle Electrification Zone in the Lordstown area. 

Eastgate applied for the Raise grant last week, said Jim Kinnick, Eastgate executive director. Elements of the application include an automated transfer yard, electric vehicle charging stations, “smart” corridors and micro-mobility transit to help connect workers to jobs in Lordstown. 

Also discussed was the Youngstown Equitable Sustainability project that would include an interchange at state Route 304 and Interstate 80 to provide highway access to the East Side, Kinnick said. Participants provided information on broadband initiatives, including the proposed lake-to-river broadband backbone, to expand internet connectivity and address the digital divide, he noted.   

Portman described Friday’s meeting with local officials as productive. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to hear more about their efforts to improve surface and broadband infrastructure in their community,” he said.

Image courtesy U.S. Rob Portman’s office

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.