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Calfee NOW Episode 19 With Congressman Dave Joyce and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

On episode 19 of Calfee NOW, Raymond Tarasuck, Senior Counsel with Calfee's Government Relations & Legislation practice group, and Jamie Gregory, Principal, Federal Government Relations with Calfee's Government Relations & Legislation practice group, spoke with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D, OH - 9) and Congressman Dave Joyce (R, OH - 14).

Topics discussed include:

  • The return of earmarks and why both support them.
  • Congresswoman Kaptur and Congressman Joyce's roles as Co-Chairs of the House Great Lakes Task Force and recent efforts the task force has made in respect to the Great Lakes. 
  • Their thoughts on a possible infrastructure package in Congress. 

Calfee NOW Episode 19

Watch the full episode.



Video Transcript

Ray Tarasuck:

We like to welcome you to the next edition of Calfee now. My name is Attorney Ray Tarasuck and I am senior counsel with Calfee's Government Relations Group. I'd like to introduce my colleague in Washington DC, Jamie Gregory. Jamie is the lead principal in our federal government relations practice with Calfee strategic solutions and together we would like to welcome two of our very, very special guests today, Congressman Dave Joyce on Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Thank you both very, very much for being here today. Appreciate it very much.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Thanks for having us.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Glad to be here.

Ray Tarasuck:

Thank you. I'm going to take the liberty of introducing Congresswoman Kaptur and my colleague Jamie's going to introduce a Congressman Joyce just very quickly. Congresswoman Kaptur represents the ninth congressional district which structures much along the Southern coastline of Lake Erie. She is the longest serving woman in the history of the US House of Representatives and one of the most senior members of the of Congress with a career spanning almost 30 years. She is the first woman to chair the house appropriations subcommittee on energy and water, senior member of the house appropriations subcommittee on defense and a member of the house appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, and science. Congresswoman, thank you again very much for being with us this morning.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Thank you for being interested. Thank you Calfee for being leaders for our region, we need them.

Ray Tarasuck:

Jamie.

Jamie Gregory:

And I'll introduce Congressman Dave Joyce who represents Ohio's 14th district and he was elected in 2012 after serving for 25 years as a local prosecutor. And he also serves on the House Appropriations Committee as the ranking member of the interior environment and related agencies subcommittee and on the financial services subcommittee, both very important subcommittees to be on.

Ray Tarasuck:

Well, great. Once again, thank you both for being here. Let's start the discussion off today on the topic of earmarks. I think the phrase that's being used now is community project funding, and this is a practice that's been absent for about a decade now, and I've seen one publication that described you as being, their words, described you as being thrilled with the return of this particular practice. Tell us, why are you supportive of earmarks and talk a little bit about the new guidelines and safety measures that are in place to address some of the concerns of the past.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

All right. Well, first of all, thanks for the question and for the opportunity to be on a panel with David Joyce, for whom I have the highest respect. I wanted to just point out to you and your listeners, think about this, the leader of the democratic party in the House of Representatives is from California, but the Republican leader in the House of Representatives is from California. You got Miss Pelosi, Mr. McCarthy, and then you go to the Senate you got someone from Kentucky who's the head of the Republicans and the democratic side Schumer of New York. Basically, for us up in the great lakes, Kentucky's not in the great lakes watershed. That kind of coastal dominance, really three out of four, is very typical of what we deal with every day. First of all, for Mr. Joyce to have a ranking member position on any committee is a modern day miracle.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

And for me to have a gavel is similar. And as I say, all we got once you get there is endurance because you are not really treated fair regionally. So when you say, why are community projects important? As you hear about the infrastructure bill, what do you hear about in terms of high-speed transportation? You hear about the East Coast corridor in Bart in the west. You don't hear about the Cleveland Chicago corridor on Amtrak. Nobody talks about it, but it's there and it needs improvement. It's backed up. You can't get decent passenger service. For the great lakes, the vast majority of our members, frankly, think they're a little puddles. They have no clue how big the great lakes are, they're great seas, they were misnamed. And that we actually have a corridor from the grain shipping areas of Duluth and steel shipping areas of Duluth all the way out to the Atlantic, through the great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway corridor and all the ports, along the way, all the bonding authority along the way, we adjoined Canada.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Well, where's most of the attention right now? Mexico border. I mean, they can't talk enough about the Mexico border. It's like we don't have a border here. Part of our problem is attention, attention to this region. Calfee is sophisticated enough to embrace the continent. How many places are not? The majority of what we represent. I'm just so proud of the people out in this part of the country to deal with what we face. For me, and I'll tell you one story and then end. I had the joy of knowing congressman named Jim Oberstar, there's a lake Frater named after him now. He's no longer living. I watched him inside my own party in a prior democratic administration be beaten down because he wanted to help the infrastructure of the great lakes.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I was actually in tears inside my own coffice, because I knew how much he knew and how hard he fought for this part of the country. And so recently when I assume the gavel on energy and water, we made sure that there's money in our bill to improve the Soo Locks, which is critical to companies like Cleveland Cliffs, which is because of genius and hard work, beating the Chinese globally in terms of their ability to produce. And it's going to require that we have modern Soo Locks that don't break down. I fully funded the Soo Locks. And when I did it, I got tears in my eyes again and I said, "Jim Orbester, this is for you." Because this is an intergenerational fight that's taken a half a century. It shouldn't have taken that long. And that wasn't a community project, that was just based funding in the bill.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

The community projects are small and they're for things that folks in Washington, they couldn't even imagine why it would be important. And so when we look at something like the Cleveland Hopkins Airport, and yes, I marked money in there, count a couple of million dollars to do a new plan because we had trouble with some of the hub airlines who shut down service where their hub placement. And we have to rethink the Cleveland Hopkins Airport and okay, what's it going to be for the future? How do we make it a more pleasant place to live around? I marked money for the airline industry and for the Cuyahoga Airport there and to have Hopkins have a new lease on life. And they won't do that through the department of transportation.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

They're going to fund something else in Washington or San Francisco. It's just the way the place works. So you have to work so hard to help your region. And another thing we're trying to do is work with Cuyahoga County and Lorain County to create a walkway, all along the southern rim of the great lakes. We put money in there for the Burke Airport, for the perimeter along there, for Western Cuyahoga and then Lorain County which has a sewage treatment plant on the lake. That's what [inaudible 00:08:02]. We got to figure out a way to tuck in there through Lorain, improve Lorain, go all the way to Erie County and have a great lakes trail. America's first frontier, the Northwest territory ignored completely by the department of interior. They don't even see us, even though you're called Cuyahoga.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

We have Erie, Lake Erie. We have Seneca County. What does that tell you? Who was there before? We have no interpretation up here. They only interpret native American tribes where the tribes have lands. Well, I represent Catawba Island, Catawba. Ottawa, well, something happened here. Think about that. How many years has our country been in existence? We have no interpretation from the department of interior across our parks and our refuges. I get all excited about this because any place we can try to help our region compete, this gives us a way to do it.

Ray Tarasuck:

Congressman Joyce, do you share the same type of enthusiasm with project funding, community project funding.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Well, certainly you understand now why I never want to go after Marcy. She's a tremendous advocate and it's contagious when she starts and she's made some very good points and the beauty of her seniority on energy and water, she's also got the Army Corps of Engineers underneath her. And I happen to have the EPA under the interior. Together we can work to make sense of some of these projects and help out. And I truly believe in what she was talking about there with the walkway. I mean, look at the project we started in Oakland and I've been out on the Lake County and Ashtabula County. And because of the rising sea levels, we've had this coastal erosion and Marcy and I worked very hard on Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. And I was surprised that we had stream bank erosion money in there, but nothing for coastline.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

It's important when you talk about doing these earmarks or whatever you want to call them, those are the kinds of projects that nobody sets money aside for. And they didn't project that out. No city or county really has the money or even a state to do that. It requires work on all their parts as well as the federal government to come in and try to put together a walkway amending the shoreline. And so once and for all have shoreline problems fixed, but also creating something that's in the public interest and public good. And that'd be fantastic if we could take it from [inaudible 00:10:35] Burke Park, you left off at Burke, but connect it there and take it all the way up to Ashtabula. It'd be fantastic if we could do that.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Those are just some of the projects that you look at. I know when they first came back, that's one of the things I tried to inspire in the communities was, let's now think of an individual community, think of something that will help all of you and help a county or a number of counties and think of something that has to be done in order for everybody to benefit and let's focus on those types of things versus one-offs in little communities because you really want to make it targeted so people can point to it and understand and appreciate this is what member-driven funding and spending is about, because I think it's much better to have Marcy and I, team Ryan and whoever it takes Marcia's seat and Anthony Gonzalez sitting at the table talking about what we should prioritize as far as roads and bridges and coastline versus, and let's not kid ourselves, somebody in the white house who has no appreciation, like Marcy said, as to what the North Coast of America looks like.

Ray Tarasuck:

Just one comment there, Congressman. It really is, I think, worth noting that the Ohio Congressional Delegation with you, with Congresswoman Kaptur, Congressman Ryan Gonzalez, that that group really does work very, very well together for this part of the state and really for the entire state. I mean, I've seen that. I know you all have very good relationships with each other.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

And the whole Buckeye Delegation, including our senators. I mean, when we talk about things like this, we worked together closely. We ran it through the house with Marcy's leadership. And then as she's the dean of our delegation and then let the two up there and make sure that they get it the rest of the way home and in the president's desk for signature.

Jamie Gregory:

You may have touched upon this already, but one part of the earmark discussion that right after they were stopped 10 years ago, I mean, it quickly became apparent that Congress had seeded a lot of authority to the executive branch and basically gave away the decision-making and gave it to agency administrators. And I think you both sort of touched on it, but Congressman Joyce did you want to talk about the importance of bringing that decision-making back.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Since I've got there is a combination of things. One, our inability to do a budget and appropriations process completely every year. We had to keep that responsibility for holding the purse strings in the house. And whether it's a Republican majority or a Democrat majority, we're still not getting the job done and that's the chain. But then when you come to the actual spending being done, I think it's important that you have members in your community working with their state and local officials to come to those conclusions as to what needs to be funded today and what can we put off until the next year. And I understand and appreciate as a former prosecutor, that there were some abuses and those people should be held accountable and criminally prosecuted, if necessary to make sure those things don't ever occur again. And we certainly don't want that.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

I could tell you that there's no discussion of any private interests when we're talking about our present funding, it's all communal public interest type things that are going to help Northeast Ohio, or I should say, Northern Ohio since Marcy's on the Western end, but helping the great lakes, helping those things that are specific to our area and making sure we can protect and preserve those things for generations to come. That's where you're proud that you see that things are actually coming to fruition. And that's the thing we have to continue to develop with local folks is that together we worked and produced say, it's either the shoreline project or interchanges that help grow an area and our community and make things work.

Jamie Gregory:

Congresswoman, did you want to add to that?

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Well, we talked about the fact the Army Corps of Engineers is under the budget that I have something to say about. And every year the executive branch under funds the Army Corps of Engineers purposely because they know Congress has to increase the money because our ports would silt over. Imagine if Cuyahoga Port of Cleveland silted over, all your business would stop. But the executive branch people, it's another branch of government. They put their cards on the table and then we have to put our cards on the table. And they don't always do what's important for either Joyce's district or my district. And they're not exactly a genuine in what they're doing. They try to put the money someplace else and then they know we're going to fight about it up in Capitol Hill. It's like a tennis match.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

The community projects are important to us because these are usually projects that are the federal government is so big. They'll never see these. In other words, if we're talking about 50 miles of shoreline between Cleveland and Lorain, that is something the federal government doesn't really think about, "Hey, we got trouble getting to think about the great lakes as a whole," believe me. We try to assume some of the power on the legislative side and not just let Washington decide where our tax dollars go and that we can actually staple things down in our communities and make improvements and to something that might just be a decimal point with a couple of zeros after it, to the federal government, to us, Cleveland Hopkins is really important.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

The lakefront for the future of this country, our great lakes, critical. And we can't fool around. I mean, we've got to pay attention. Right here in the Western basin that I represent, we got such a big problem with runoff, with added rainfall that create toxic algal blooms in the lakes and are affecting our fish population. And David has been phenomenal, even though he's at the other end of the lake supporting our efforts to try to make sure the water flows into the lake in a more pure way. And also that we keep the Asian Carp out of the great lakes or we get our $7 billion fishing industry destroyed. You think anybody in Washington really knows much about that. They don't. And you cannot believe how difficult it was to try to get money in the federal budget.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

And David, give him applause applause, to get the fish and wildlife service money to literally fish out the Asian Carp before they get to the Illinois, to the Chicago River to fish him out down the Mississippi to prevent complete destruction of our ecosystem in the great lakes. This is not a small problem. And we were unable to get the permanent barrier we wanted in Illinois. We were fought by the Minnesota interests and the Mississippi River interests and the great lakes lost. We can't win because Dick Durbin's number two over on my side of the aisle over there, and in the Senate and you got Schumer from New York. You're not going to win that fight. So we're trying to do everything we can to keep these carp out of the great lakes without the kind of political power that some of the other regions exert and that Mississippi River, Minnesota, Mississippi River basin is really, really powerful.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

And they're willing to risk us, cut us off and we have to fight for our region. These community projects become more important, that particular Chicago River project is not a community project, but I'm trying to illustrate to you regional fights that are often not reported much by the press, but to us are critical to our way of life. And if it weren't for the great lakes delegation, and organizations like yours, like Calfee, you're intelligent. You have lots of brilliant people that work for you. One way you might be able to help us, and David please add something here. If you know law firms in the great lake states that could be as interested as you are in what is happening developmentally in our region, we need them. We need them to be voices as we try to figure out how to have high speed passenger and freight modernized between Cleveland and Chicago co-exist and west of that. How we meet the true challenges to the great lakes.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

We need more voices in Washington from our part of the country. And they're not as loud as you think. And we face major challenges with the movement of dollars in our bills. Recently Cuyahoga County got $240 million as a result of the rescue and relief bills that we passed. So you're talking to us about community projects, which are very small projects in different districts across the country, but Cuyahoga county just got a mother load of money and it's going to be delivered in six month trenches. The State of Ohio just that 5.5 billion with a B. And I'm saying to myself, "Okay." With the legislature that's the most corrupt we've ever had in modern history, you're going to trust them to distribute the money. Somehow we need law firms across the state to hold people accountable and to make sure that Cuyahoga and the Northern part of Ohio are properly treated and that the true needs of this region are reflective.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I don't want to talk too much, but I just have to say, I wish I had the medical system of Northeastern Ohio in the Western part of my district, I don't. And we are at risk right now as we speak of the only medical school in the entire Northwestern part of Ohio, the Northwestern quarter of Ohio being crippled permanently. And we don't have the wisdom in firms and other organizations to help us dig out of this deep hole. The great lakes need more patient and informed voices to help us meet some of the crying needs of this region of Ohio, frankly, all of Ohio, but certainly this region of Ohio. And if you saw how New York competes, how California competes, how Texas competes, we're just not at the same table.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Marcy, that's a great point to a number of them. But since a firm like Calfee represents major corporations and a lot of movers and shakers in the community, your advocacy or your continuing when your clients are having issues with one of these agencies because of the water, because of these types of things, having your clients speak out, that really, Marcy and I can shake the tree as much as we want, but hearing from a constituent makes a hell of a lot more of a difference for folks students. It's important that you continue the leadership position that you've had in advocacy that you've taken on the hill and across the state, because we've made some great progress. And it's because we've been fighting on this progress. And in his defense, Mitch McConnell finally came around when we started talking about Asian Carp, he's like, "What are those are those? I've got those too, those were horrible," because they were jamming up their ports and docks and things down there.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

And when you get down on the table and they talk about the big four and those big four, no matter how much Marcy and I can work on and put in, they sit there and she mentioned two Californians, a New Yorker and somebody from Kentucky who say yay or nay on our priorities. And that's why it takes the advocacy so that other members who fight to put these in, then don't back down when we're getting pushback from above as to whether or not these things are going to be funded.

Ray Tarasuck:

Well, I thank you both for the kind words for Calfee. And it seems like it really does, it really takes the advocacy of a community of all of us really to make a change in our neck of the woods, if you would. And let's transition there a little bit. And Congresswoman Kaptur, and again, this is for Congressman Kaptur and Joyce as well. And Congressman, you're the chairwoman of the house appropriations subcommittee on energy, water development and related agencies and holding that gavel when it comes to issues with respect to the great lakes is, I think, very, very important. And I think your passion for the great lakes and all the related issues there is very, very obvious. And both you and Congressman Joyce are co-chairs of a bipartisan House Great Lakes Taskforce. Talk to us a little bit about, we talked about that earlier, but talk us a little bit about some of the recent efforts that you as chair of that subcommittee have made with respect to the great lakes.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

All right. Well, first of all working with Congressman Joyce, we have been able to retain the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which totals about 250 to $300 million a year depending on who's president and who's sitting in congress. And that sits under the environmental protection agency. And David can talk more about that, but they fund projects all across the great lake shoreline, retrofitting projects, all kinds of great lakes improvement projects. And so it gives us an opportunity in that account at least to make a little bit of difference across the great lakes. The challenges we face in terms of cleanup across the great lakes, even unexploded arsenal, for example, across the region I represent, I don't want to scare you, but the challenges of cleaning up the great lakes are enormous, very enormous. And our water systems, all of the challenges we face with modernizing our water treatment.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Let me give you one problem. If I look between Cleveland Toledo over 10 years, a period of time, the largest cost for every municipality is for power that they use to treat water and sewage. Between Cleveland and Toledo we spent a billion dollars in a 10 year period, Cleveland, Lorain, Sandusky, Toledo, all these towns, I thought, "A billion dollars on power." And I'm thinking to myself, what can I do to help these communities transform that cost? And I saw something recently in Washington, DC, near the Capitol at the DC water plant and Wastewater Treatment Plant. And it really captured my fancy. They have a new plan and the plan is to turn their water and sewage treatment plant system, rather than being a big energy drawdown and energy producer. It'll turn your mind inside out.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

And they're asking all the right questions in their business plan about how to help communities become power producers using that raw material. So they've installed a thermal heat exchange system in that plant. It blew my mind. In a sewage treatment plant, you walk in the door and the first three words you see, our water is life. I said, "I belong here. This is my place." And they conduct weddings, wedding ceremonies in the sewage treatment plant. Now think about this one. They'll turn your mind inside out. What they do, they have a plan, they take the heat out of the sewage, like a refrigerator or an air conditioner and they provide power to the building they're in and beyond. And then they have a plan to add solar power, wind power, and to expand to adjoining buildings, just like the old central city heating systems that used to be underground to connect all these buildings.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

It completely turns around the idea of being an energy user versus an energy producer. Now, I chair the energy committee and I'm going, "Wow, this is something." And at the end of the process, they produce a fertilizer called bloom that takes away the expense of the cities and counties having to haul all this waste material. They've created an EPA certified fertilizer that Virginia and Maryland farmers come and haul away so that you eliminate the expense and I'm going, "This is revolutionary." I'm looking at something here I haven't seen before. I'm just saying that you, because as we look at energy, as we look at water at EPA, EPA is great at saying, "Cleveland, we're going to put indebtedness on you that amounts to blah, blah, blah," whatever their billions. And Cleveland goes, "Oh, wait, we don't have all that money."

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

So they go into debt for 30 years or however long, and they can't afford to fix their streets because of all these EPA mandates. This is using technology to turn around a massive cost. And it's just like, I thought I'm in the 21st century. Okay, great. We close the 20th. Right now, what can I do to help places like this? And what can I do because the most sophisticated sewage treatment facility I represent is Cleveland. The others they're not as forward-looking. But I got to get Cleveland to think about what it's doing and let us adapt based on what they see at places like I'm talking about. And then we will try to help Lorain and Sandusky and Oregon and Toledo along the way, but we need the thinking of firms like Calfee, the people that you work with, who are involved with some of these organizations to help us to develop the future.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I'm going to say one other thing just because I have the time. And I've realized after being in Congress this long, grants won't do it for our region. The hole is too deep. Just take opioids, Ohio is the worst state in the country, 50th in terms of opioid deaths and outcomes. It's horrendous, we're failing. How do we develop economically this vast, great lakes bowl? That's our responsibility. We've lost jobs from NASA. At Brook Park, I represented the Huntsville Alabama. Why? Because Huntsville, because it's covered by the TVA, can guarantee a 30 year power rate. We can't. We just lost the battery plant out of Eastern Ohio to Spring Hill, Tennessee. Why? Because TVA can guarantee a 30 year power rate right next to the cadillac plant they got down there in Tennessee and I'm going, "Something wrong with this picture." I'm working on a proposal to create a great lakes authority.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I would love to send it to Calfee and you put your most brilliant lawyers around the table. One of them would be David Joyce and have him listen in and participate in this. I want to propose, as part of whatever we're going to produce in the way of infrastructure or whatever they're going to call the bill, I want the great lakes to have a major footing. And that would be the great lakes states in this water rich region that the country's going to desperately need 50 years from now, they're going to say what do those people do back then. Why did they think of this? Well, we have to behave in a different way. Grants won't do it. Community projects won't do it. We have to think bigger. And we have to get the federal government to release some of this bonded indebtedness to hold it like it does for other regions and to use the assets we have, and frankly, our nuclear power plants are among those assets.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I think we could have a public private partnership financing solution for them different than the corrupt solution the Ohio Legislature developed. And like the bureau of reclamation does out west, over time you finance the power production, you help the plants diversify, but then they pay something back over time. You get our sewage and water treatment plants involved in modernizing to actually create power rather than just consume it. You create a business plan for these massive power using facilities that define us as a region. They had a Ford, North America reopened a plant in Avon Lake Ohio. And I said to the president of Ford, North America, "What can I do to help you secure these jobs here?"

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Because I know that they're going to go again. They won't last. He said, "Reduce my power rates by a third." And I thought, "How do I do that? How do I, alone, one little Congressman from Ohio?" I have to have a structure like the TVA, a modernized structure. But I would love to send you this set of ideas and maybe you could help us draft legislation that may be Congressman Joyce and I could work on together to fight for this region at a unique moment in history where we have a chance for this to be considered. We've got some folks from Cleveland inside this administration. That's a miracle. We'll never have Marcia Fudge again, we'll never have Granholm, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and P Buttigieg from Indiana. Think Ohio, Michigan, Indiana. What can we do to push a concept that we might get as part of the American recovery bill that will be moving forward. Thank you for listening. I wanted to use this opportunity to unload on you because I need your brains. I'm not a lawyer, but I know what needs to be done.

Ray Tarasuck:

Congresswoman thank you and I think we'd be happy to work with you on something like that. Absolutely in the future we'll make sure Congressman Joyce is sitting at the table with us at that time. Congressman, you are under the ranking member of the subcommittee interior environment. And you're facing a lot of these same issues. Can you comment on some of the things that the Congresswoman Kaptur was just talking about from your perspective and on the committee that you sit on?

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Well, as a co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force with her and some other folks, Bill Huizenga and Debbie Dingell from Michigan, I can tell you that some of the things that we've been working on, three of the things that I requested earmarks on Maria and Marcy's committee and it's because they need dredging in [inaudible 00:34:08], Fairport Harbor and also to make sure that those places ... We think of the great lakes as something we want to protect and preserve, but they're also tightens the industry. And in order to move products and ship products, we have to make sure that they the Fairport Harbor and [inaudible 00:34:26] are cleaned up so that we can continue to do that. But then again one of my other ones was what they call the great lakes resiliency study.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

And that's $500 million or just $500,000, but Corps of Engineers study all the problems we have in our 5,200 miles of shoreline on the great lakes. So then again, we can emphasize a target those things going forward, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which Marcy brought up is under the EPA. And I'm glad to say that, I don't know if I had a chance to catch up with you and let you know Marcy, but we've got it in for 375 million this year. We started at 300 and we're fighting for awhile there to just maintain that. And even though we pushed that thing last year that was to increase it to 320, the president put in for 340 and we managed to get it to 375 and hopefully it'll stay there because it really should be at $500 million every year because these projects is, Marcy was making the point, they're not 12 months, okay, we're done.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

These are things that they have to know that they start is going to take place over two to five years and the funding would be there to make sure that they can follow those to completion. And whether it's doing the things in farms, a lot of times to drain the fields, they would take the old Serpentine Creek and straighten that out so they could drain faster, but the trouble is, is that field drain faster, their phosphorus drain faster. And that went into the creeks and the went into the rivers that went into lake. Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and working with NGOs like Western Reserve Land Conservancy, we go back and Serpentine these fields so that when the water's rushing, it comes up and stays on the farm lands or stays in the fields versus all of it rushing out and creating the other top problems that I was just talking about, dredging the rivers or the ports so we can continue to do commerce there.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

It's a comprehensive approach we've tried to take to tackling all the problems that we're seeing at once, studying and addressing future needs, but also trying to get rid of those things to make sure that we, again, protect and preserve the great lakes for our kids and grandkids.

Jamie Gregory:

Congressman Joyce, just to maybe follow up on that a little bit, both of you in your comments have highlighted the importance of infrastructure, and obviously Congress is considering an infrastructure package right now. Plenty of examples across the country of deteriorating bridges, tunnels, roadways. Right in Southern Ohio we have the third busiest bridge in the country and the Brent Spence Bridge which is well past its lifespan. I'll just give you an open-ended question. Do you think we'll have an infrastructure package and maybe a slight twist. We had very positive economic numbers for the month of June. Does that change the discussion at all on whether we need an infrastructure package?

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Well, I do think we need an infrastructure package and the things that hopefully I did in concert with the governor's office at ODAC and for district, I'm not going to lie, but the idea was that, say Harper Road in a 422, you realize that that was originally more for Solon residential. And in that area of residential versus the commerce that's been developed there with the NASA Corporation and all the other corporations that develop from Harper Road all the way into Solon. And so you have a lot of, I'd say pedestrian or residential traffic that has created something that's become a problem. So we could cure that problem, but the city or the state of the county, and then the money alone. So we want to invest some money in fixing that one. Out at 82, where we work with City of Brecksville to try to the OBA property back in.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

And they're now getting that up and running and trying to make use of it as a commercial development, they needed an interchanging Miller road that'll suffice to handle the work and the projects that are coming there as well as you've had a household rose and other trucking corporations are moving stuff every single day, also in those intersections. So you need to fix up those intersections. A third example I know would be up in Ashtabula 193. The road runs right along the lake and it's washing out. And there's no sinking funds. There's no money set aside because the erosion occurred so quickly. Those up here are some of the things, but when you look at something like you brought up with the Brent Spence Bridge, if there's ever a time to have it cured, it was when [inaudible 00:39:22] and McConnell were the leaders.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

They shared that payment and they still didn't set aside money for it. Yes, those are the kinds of things that I think would be an agreement and Marcy and I would be in agreement on as well. When you have 150,000 crossings per day on a bridge of that size that we wouldn't wait for it to collapse and people die before we realize, "Oh, shucks, we should have fixed this." We've seen that insanity before, and we don't want that to play out in Ohio. I think it's important that we get to an infrastructure bill that we can agree on, and I'm glad Senator Portman is doing what he can up there even though he should be on his glide path to retirement. God bless him that he's taking this by the horns and doing what he can and send it to make this work.

Jamie Gregory:

Congresswoman, did you want to comment on infrastructure?

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Well, first of all, I agree with Congressman Joyce that we do need an infrastructure bill. First of all, it's a job creator and it's permanent investment. Who would ever think that we would see bridges collapse across the country. And I can tell you as chair of energy and water with what's happening with coastline erosion, I never heard of an atmospheric river until this past year in California, where US one in California, literally, a road I've driven from Tijuana all the way up to Vancouver in those hairpin turns, if the road dropped out, the bluff disappeared. And I thought, "Oh my God, if you were turning a corner on one of those hairpin turns, the road wouldn't be there anymore."

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I don't know, to me, it's just shocking to think about. Yes, we do need an infrastructure bill and Congressman Joyce talked about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and having been successful in getting $375 million in this measure for the great lakes, without his leadership that wouldn't happen. But let me tell you, in the interior department every year, because this is under bill, $1 billion comes off the top for the 17 Western state that benefit from the power and energy, power and water subsidies that the federal government has invested for nearly a hundred years and the states that are drying up. Think about that one. I said, "A billion." I've come to see the power of other regions and it's quite sobering. And we have to measure up in our region. That's quite a victory for the great lakes. And one thing we don't have among the non great lakes members of Congress is an understanding of how big the great lakes are. When I bring them to the great lakes and they look at Lake Erie, which is one of the smallest of the lakes, they can't see the other side. They go, "Oh, I can't see the other side." Yeah, we should have named them the great seas.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Most members of Congress have no clue what we are talking about. Start there. When you talk about Asian Carp and their threats to our $7 billion fishing industry, they think fish are little. They don't fish themselves. We're a much more nature oriented group of people up here on the lakes. But a lot of my colleagues, when we say something like that, it doesn't mean anything to them. They are geographically challenged. Somehow we have to do better. First of all, I think we should authorize GLRI at a billion dollars a year to match the west. David and I can't do that alone, but we shouldn't abdicate the fight.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

We should match what the 17 dry Western states are getting. Number two, in terms of infrastructure, I said to myself one night, "I'm a city and regional planner by training." I said, "What did Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have in common?" And I was looking at a map I thought, "I8090." And that just happens to come through Northern Ohio. And one of the most under visioned instrumentalities we have are our turnpikes. They have been laying tar and concrete for how many years now? 80 years, whatever it is, but they have not been thinking about modern transportation. And Ohio Turnpike has never gotten a dime from the federal government.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

It has all been financed by tolls. They think Ohio, and that's good, but they shouldn't think only Ohio. And we should be looking at that corridor and the I75 corridor as the nexus for major infrastructure investment, whether we're talking about electric charging stations, whether we're talking about hydrogen, we've got nuclear power plants up here. We can produce hydrogen off a nuclear. We can be the hydrogen fuel center of the country if we think about it. The problem is, for us, we have congestion between Cleveland and Chicago of massive proportion, you can throw Detroit into that.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

How are we going to relieve that corridor? What is the role of the turnpike with its easements? What is the role? How do we get them involved in the discussion of what we're talking about? Novaka, through their hyperloop work has been the most sophisticated instrumentality we have in the state to think about how do we connect to a broader national network. And the question for us is, will the south continue to develop the Memphis Indianapolis Chicago route or are we going to be smart enough to figure out how do we develop the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, Cleveland, West to Chicago route and work with rail, work with overground transportation, work with our trucking companies. How do we use that turnpike easement. If you asked me what I would do, I'd call Cedar Fair and I say to Cedar Fair, "Hey, listen, how do we get automated cars or transport vehicles where we could get on in Cleveland and we could be in Chicago in some, I don't know, hour, hour and a half," whatever it is.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Alongside of the road, use some of that easement or the median strip or we do suspended rail, light rail up above that turnpike easement. How do we work on the I8090 corridor for the nation? How do we do that? If it were up to me, I would take the trucking companies, I meet with them all and I'd say, "Hey, listen, Turnpike Commission is interested in dedicating the lane toward automated freight shipment, where you just put your container on tracks." We can't get CDL drivers. We can't for long distance routes. People don't want those jobs anymore. How do we automate? How do we automate? What's the plan for them? And to use this I8090 as a powerful, improved route, nobody's talking about that.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

I think that we should. I wanted to put that on the table for you and to tell you part of the problem we have in Ohio, which I learned about a couple of years ago, and it's just unbelievable, in Cleveland, you send gas tax money to Ohio every year. You're one of the most populated regions of the state. I'm told there's about 270 million a year. I'm not sure what the number is. You do not get back to 270 million. You get back, maybe a third of it. Why? The Ohio Legislature divides what they get, not by population or number of vehicle miles traveled, they divide it by 88. That's why when you go down to Findlay and you get on I30, you're going, "Why did they build this here? There's nobody here." And the answer is 88. Somehow we have to get thinking in this part of the state to recoup what we invest, my view of the turnpike is, it double taxes us.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

We don't get federal money from the beginning of the turnpike on that I8090 up here and under the former governor, they refinanced it so that now some of the revenues it generates and our people pay more up here because we use the turnpike. They put another parts of the state down there around Delaware and all. I'm not against Delaware, but let them put a toll road down there. We're not getting the full benefit of this artery up here. Sadly, I don't think that we fight. I don't know why, but I think we should have a greater voice in terms of getting back the money we send down to Columbus and to help us put together a grand plan to relieve the freight congestion in this ... It's the fifth largest rail center in the country. Well, let's be the fifth largest rail center and show that we understand the needs of modernizing this part of the country. Thank you for listening.

Ray Tarasuck:

Well, Congresswoman Kaptur, Congressman Joyce. I want to thank you both for at least one of the best Calfee hours that I've been a part of. Your energy, the information that you've given us, just the passion that both of you have for this part of the state and for all of Ohio has just been terrific. And I want to thank you very, very much for your time, the kind words you've had for Calfee. And for this being just one of the best Calfee analysis that we've had since we've been doing this. Thank you very much both of you.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Thank you for having us.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Thank you. And I really appreciate David Joyce's work and his endurance. I respect that very, very much and his good humor, and his good humor through out. Intelligence but good humor. And for Calfee thank you for what it takes to operate a law firm with ... I don't even know how many individuals are associated with Calfee, but you're one of the most sophisticated organizations across our region and we need you. We need your thinkers. We are up against very stiff competition globally and nationally and we can't do it being isolated from one another. Convene us more, force us to be better than we are.

Ray Tarasuck:

Thank you, Congresswoman.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Well said Marcy as always. It's always a pleasure to be with her.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

Same here, David. Thank you.

Congressman Dave Joyce:

Thank you.

Calfee Connections blogs, vlogs and other educational content are intended to inform and educate readers about legal developments and are not intended as legal advice for any specific individual or specific situation. Please consult with your attorney regarding any legal questions you may have. With regard to all content including case studies or descriptions, past outcomes do not predict future results. The opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the view points of all attorneys and professionals of Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP or its subsidiary. Updates related to all COVID-19 government assistance programs are provided with the most current information made available to Calfee at the time of publication. Clarifications and further guidance are being disseminated from government authorities on an ongoing basis. All information should be reaffirmed prior to the submission of any application and/or program participation.

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