Infrastructure Bill Expected to Bring More Than $100B to Ohio Projects

by J.D. Davidson

 

Both Ohio U.S. senators praised the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that secured more than $100 billion for roads, bridges, airports and other projects around state.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the U.S. House late Friday night, and one of the major projects on deck could be a new Brent Spence Bridge connecting Cincinnati to its northern Kentucky suburbs. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the bill’s passage could allow for a new bridge to be built without the need for tolls.

The package includes $12.5 billion to fund Sen. Rob Portman’s Bridge Investment Act, which allows Ohio and other states to apply for bridges and another $5 billion in a national infrastructure grant program.

The Brent Spence Bridge is considered functionally obsolete and carries about 160,000 vehicles a day; twice what it was designed to hold.

The 58-year-old bridge would not be replaced. Instead, a companion span would be built to the west of it.

Lawmakers and leaders on both sides of the aisle, including former President Donald Trump and Biden, have considered the Brent Spence project a priority because it serves as an important connector between the South and Midwest. Yet, funding has not been set aside for the project.

Officials expect the project to cost about $2.5 billion.

The bill also allocates $10 billion in highway funding for Ohio, plus more than $33 million in competitive grant funding for highway and other projects. It also provides $25 billion in new funding for airports and funding to increase broadband internet access.

Ohio also will receive $1.4 billion for clean water and water infrastructure projects, while a total of $15 million over five years for Portman’s effort to educate households and consumers about community recycling programs.

The bill received support when it passed the Senate in August from Portman, a Republican, and Ohio Democratic U.S. Sherrod Brown. All Ohio Democratic U.S. representatives voted in favor of the bill, along with Republican Anthony Gonzalez. The other 11 Ohio Republicans voted against it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the infrastructure bill will increase the federal budget deficit by $256 billion over 10 years.

“I’ve heard from mayors and community leaders across Ohio about the infrastructure projects they need to create jobs and economic growth all over our state. Today, alongside President Biden, we’re showing that we can work together to provide real investments to upgrade outdated bridges, roads, transit, and water and sewer systems, to build new broadband networks, and more,” Brown said. “We’re delivering historic wins for Ohio that will create good-paying American jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, and that will help Ohio communities of all sizes, all over the state, thrive and grow.”

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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. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.

 

 

 

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