The state of Ohio is apparently looking to the logistics industry to help jump-start a job-creation program. On Nov. 21, Ohio launched a $100 million initiative to bring infrastructure investment—and thousands of jobs—to the economically battered state. The state plans to allocate funds from its new Logistics and Distribution Stimulus Program in the form of loans for eligible transportation, logistics, and infrastructure projects within its borders.
The initiative is part of a $1.57 billion package the state says will create as many as 57,000 jobs over the next two to five years. The state estimates the logistics industry could generate up to 4,200 of those new jobs, according to Robert Grevey, a spokesman for Ohio's Department of Development.
In a statement, Ohio officials said the logistics and distribution program will "help create a seamless multimodal transportation infrastructure across the state, linking rails, roads, waterways, and airports." But they've made it clear that job creation is the program's top priority. Accordingly, bidders must disclose the number of jobs their projects will create. The state will fund 75 percent of each awarded project, with the bidder financing the rest. Should the bidder meet specific performance criteria, the state's loan will be forgiven. There is a $10 million ceiling on all infrastructure loans.
The announcement comes as Ohio faces the loss of 7,000 to 8,000 more jobs once express delivery company DHL ends operations in the domestic U.S. market and shutters its air hub in Wilmington, Ohio. Most of the job losses will come from ABX Air Inc., which had operated aircraft for DHL but will no longer do so if DHL begins contracting out flying operations to rival UPS, whose main hub operations are in Louisville, Ky. Negotiations between the two companies were ongoing at press time.