Politics

Appropriations Bills Include Funds that Could Benefit Valley, Ryan Says

YOUNGSTOWN , Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced Tuesday the inclusion of more than $340 million in appropriations bills that could benefit Youngstown Air Reserve Station, America Makes and the Tech Belt Innovation Center, and the Mahoning River, among other local constituencies.

The House Appropriations Committee, on which Ryan serves, passed the fiscal 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill and the Defense Appropriations Bill.

Included in the defense bill is $300 million for four C-130J aircraft designated for U.S. Air Force Reserve units such as the Youngstown Air Force Reserve Station in Vienna Township. 

YARS is “in a really good position to be able to get these planes” because of its aerial spray mission, Ryan, D-13 Ohio, told reporters on a conference call, citing the chief of the Air Force reserve. The mission, which includes spraying to control pests such as mosquitoes after natural disasters, is the only one of its kind in the Department of Defense.

“The Air Force at the end of the day is going to make the decision,” Ryan said. “We’re going to work real hard to get them over to Youngstown.”   

The bill also contains $10 million each for additive manufacturing training and the research and development of large-scale additive manufacturing equipment, which will “plug right into what we’re doing in downtown Youngstown with America Makes,” he said. 

Also designated is $10 million for technology transition, an area being worked on at the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in Warren, which the congressman said he has been working closely with. 

“TBEIC already is doing some technology transition work,” he said. “This is really going to help plug TBEIC in.”

Added TBEIC vice president and chief operating officer Rick Stockburger: “TBEIC is well positioned to participate in any program that assists with technology development and commercialization for [Department of Defense] needs and looks forward to responding to any such opportunities.”

The Energy and Water Bill has $12 million for aquatic ecosystem restoration, funds that can be used for removal of dams such as those in the Mahoning River, and $2 million to clear rivers of downed trees and other obstructions. Trumbull County MetroParks has requested assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Mahoning River between Newton Falls and the city of Warren. 

The funds would provide “a major first step” to building out economic development and quality of life in Trumbull County, according to Ryan. 

“We’ve been trying to get this done for a long time,” he said. “It’s a shot in the arm for Newton Falls. It’s a shot in the arm for Warren.”

Eastgate Regional Council of Government has been working with Ryan’s office as well as the Ohio governor’s office and other entities to procure river cleanup and dam removal funds, said Joann Esenwein, director of planning. 

“If we have an opportunity to get this money, its just great for the area,” she said. 

Both pieces of legislation should go to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in the few weeks and move to the U.S. Senate after that, Ryan said. He reported he is in contact with both of Ohio’s U.S. senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, about making sure those funds stay in the bills. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.