Canton Repository

November 10, 2005

Congressional bill would fund flood study, other Stark projects

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - Two bills approved by the House on Wednesday would provide more than $9 million for the area and the state of Ohio, including $1 million for a flood study in Stark County.

The Stark County commissioners had requested funding for the flood study, which Commissioner Richard Regula said would give officials “a road map of how to go about alleviating all the drainage issues that are out there.”

Regula’s father, Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, reserved the funding for the study and other area projects in two spending bills.

As vice chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Regula has directed millions of dollars in federal spending to his congressional district in the past five years.

When it receives authority to spend the money, the commissioners will seek proposals to perform the study from engineering firms, Richard Regula said.

Earmarks, such as those placed in the legislation by Ralph Regula, reserve taxpayer funds for specific projects identified by congressmen and senators. Critics deride earmarks as wasteful pork.

The congressman also included funding for the Stark County Sheriff’s Department, county juvenile programs and a statewide educational and job-finding initiative in the two bills, which still require approval from the Senate.

The Sheriff’s Department would get $1 million to purchase visual intelligence technology to share with Wayne, Ashland and Medina counties, which also are in Regula’s congressional district. Regula’s office described the technology as an advanced tool for surveillance of roads, railways and airports.

The county courts would receive $250,000 in continuing federal aid to finance an early intervention program to reduce juvenile delinquency.

Another earmark provides $1.1 million for a statewide program to help students complete a General Educational Development (GED) diploma, learn interview skills and find jobs. Public television stations and the state are participating in the program.

The bills also include $3 million for SOFCo-EFS, an Alliance company, and Rolls-Royce to develop a fuel processor that could provide standby power in power plants in the future.

Another $1 million would go to a brain mapping project at the Cleveland Clinic, while $750,000 is reserved for a renewable energy project at Great Lakes Science Centers.