Ohio to Spend COVID Funds on Drug Task Forces and Bridge Repairs

by J.D. Davidson


Ohio plans to spend more than $2 million worth of federal COVID-19 relief funds on more than two dozen local drug task forces around the state, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

The money, DeWine said, would be used to disrupt drug trafficking and promote substance use awareness, prevention and recovery.

“I’m committed to supporting our local drug task forces, which are working hard to stop the cartels that continuously push drugs into our communities, causing crime and addiction,” DeWine said.

The grants will go to 30 existing task forces that cover 58 of the state’s 88 counties. The largest is planned for METRICH Enforcement Unit that handles Ashland, Crawford, Hancock, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot counties in northeast Ohio.

Task forces, according to DeWine, will use the money to help identify high-level drug traffickers, break up large drug trafficking organizations, stop the flow of money and drugs from international cartels, and prevent the sale of drugs to those suffering from substance use disorder.

Grant funding will also be used for the RecoveryOhio initiative, which aims to increase substance use and mental health awareness, implement age-appropriate prevention education in schools, connect those who need help with treatment and promote recovery.

DeWine also announced the Ohio Department of Transportation is ready for applications for the Local Major Bridge Program, which uses federal dollars for counties and cities to replaces, fix and demolish bridges.

Changes to the program requirements opened eligibility to 238 bridges instead of the original 54. The program will pay up to 95% of the construction and engineering costs for major bridge projects with a cap of $20 million.

“Expanding the number of eligible bridges in this program gives more communities the opportunity to seek assistance with expensive repairs,” DeWine said. “Ensuring that Ohio bridges are safe now and into the future is our goal, and this program helps accomplish that.”

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davison is a regional editor for The Center Square. 
Photo “Bridge Repair” by Washington State Dept of Transportation. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.






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