State of Ohio
PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION
The OPWC and Its Programs

The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) was created initially in 1987 to administer the State Capital Improvement Program which was soon joined by the Local Transportation Improvement Program. These programs, which run concurrently, are solicited, scored and selected by the 19 District Integrating Committees according to each district’s schedule. In 2000, the OPWC became responsible for the administration of the Clean Ohio Conservation Green Space Program in which applications are solicited, scored, and selected by the 19 Natural Resource Assistance Councils (NRACs).

The OPWC staff is accountable to the legislatively appointed twelve-member Commission who provides oversight to the Director and adopts the bylaws governing the conduct of OPWC’s business. The Commission’s staff works with the district committees to ensure that the programs are administered in a fair and objective manner. On a daily basis staff maintain ongoing contact with local communities, providing technical assistance through each project's completion.

It is OPWC’s mission to deliver its statutory programs with the greatest efficiency and highest customer satisfaction while maintaining a high level of transparency and accountability to Ohio’s taxpayers.

State Capital Improvement Program

The State Capital Improvement Program (SCIP) was created in 1987 and renewed in 1995, 2005 and 2014 by amendments creating Sections 2k, 2m, 2p and 2s, Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution. These Constitutional provisions allow the State to use its general revenues as debt support to issue general obligation bonds up to $175 million in fiscal years 2017 to 2021 and $200 million in fiscal years 2022 to 2026. Eligible applicants are counties, cities, villages, townships, and water and sanitary districts (ORC 6119 or 6117). Eligible projects are for improvements to roads, bridges, culverts, water supply systems, wastewater systems, storm water collection systems, and solid waste disposal facilities.

Funding is provided through grants, loans, and loan assistance or local debt support. Grants are available for up to 90% of the total project costs for repair/replacement, and up to 50% for new/expansion. Loans can be provided for up to 100% of the project costs. Grant/loan combinations are also available. There is no minimum or maximum loan amount. The term of the loan cannot exceed the useful life of the project, or thirty years, whichever is less. The minimum term is one year. The District will recommend the rate of interest for each loan in whole percent increments from 0 to 3 percent. Once the project is completed a final amortization schedule is provided requiring payments every January and July until the term of the loan expires. Loans may be paid in full with no prepayment penalty.

Loan Assistance / Credit Enhancement

This category of funding may be applied for as part of a project that is a grant, loan or grant/loan combination but needs to be a separate application for administrative purposes.

Loan Assistance is a grant that pays for the interest on a public or private loan during the construction period. This assistance can be used on bond/note issuances or loans initiated up to twelve months prior to the date of the Project Agreement.

Credit Enhancement is a one-time infusion of funds to enhance an applicant’s ability to secure affordable debt. The OPWC may pay the premium for a bond insurance policy which would improve the applicant’s credit or bond rating.

Small Government Program

Of the annual SCIP allocation, $17.5 million is set aside for the Small Government Program established for villages and townships with populations in the unincorporated areas of less than 5,000 in population. This is a “second chance” for selected village and township projects that have not been funded through the Districts.

Emergency Program

Another set aside of the SCIP allocation, $3.5 million, is administered directly by the OPWC Director for the Emergency Program . This program is for those projects that address immediate health and safety threats and are treated on a first come, first served basis year-round as long as funding is available.

Local Transportation Improvement Program

The Local Transportation Improvement Program was created by the legislature in 1989 and provides the equivalent of one cent in gasoline tax receipts annually (currently approximately $61 million). Since the use of such receipts is constitutionally limited to roads and bridges only counties, cities, villages and townships may apply for these funds. Applicants may apply for grants up to 100% of the project cost.

Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program

The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program is dedicated to environmental conservation including acquisition of green space and the protection and enhancement of river and stream corridors. Grant recipients agree to maintain the properties in perpetuity so that they can be enjoyed and cherished for generations to come.