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President's infrastructure plan won't address Cleveland's major needs

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Posted at 6:53 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 18:54:25-05

President Trump announced this year his push for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan complete with billions of dollars in funding for new roads, bridges, and transportation technology, but it could leave Cleveland out in the cold.

The recipe could spell potential disaster for Northeast Ohio, with very limited funding making it to Cleveland and other rust belt cities.

"I don't think that it is the plan that I would say will solve the problems of Northeast Ohio or even begin to put a dent in the problems of Northeast Ohio," said Grace Gallucci, the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency

Legacy cities, like Cleveland, are older, industrial, urban areas that have experienced significant job loss and population decline. These cities Gallucci says, won't receive the funding needed in the president's plan, to catapult them into the 21st century.

In the proposed infrastructure plan, the federal government will only provide 20% of the spending, or roughly $200 billion. The rest will need to come from local governments and private investors. That's a problem for Northeast Ohio.

"It is not likely that a private company or a private investor would want to invest in a project that's just rehabilitation because there isn't generally a revenue stream," said Gallucci.

Gallucci says the president's plan wouldn't directly help repair Irishtown bend, a project that needs immediate assistance. In fact, Gallucci says, the spending formula will likely funnel Northeast Ohio tax dollars to other parts of the country.

"It's as if we are subsidizing growth elsewhere, which eventually does come back to hurt us in terms of economics and other kids of social issues," she said.

The plan though will help fund innovative projects in Northeast Ohio like the hyperloop -- a new form of transportation that would take passengers from Cleveland to Chicago in under 30 minutes.