America’s infrastructure used to be the envy of the world.
Our grandparents built it – but we haven’t maintained it. Our roads, our airports, and our bridges are crumbling. Our transit technology is outdated. We have lead in too many pipes and too many communities are still without broadband.
We are about to change that, with the bipartisan infrastructure plan the Senate passed in August.
This summer, I’ve been all over our state talking to workers and business owners and local leaders about the economic potential that plan will unleash in their communities. I’ve spent time touring public transportation centers in Cleveland, Canton, and Columbus, and visited places that are vital to our state’s economy, like Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. At Cleveland-Cliffs in Toledo, we saw the iron that will become the steel that will rebuild our bridges.
Ohio mayors, business people, and community leaders have been sounding the alarm about the need to upgrade this infrastructure for years. Plenty of politicians have paid lip service to fixing this infrastructure – but it’s all been empty talk.
Now, under President Biden, we are finally getting this done.
Our bipartisan plan means Ohio would be is guaranteed at least $9.8 billion in funding to repair, replace, and upgrade roads like Lee Road in Shaker Heights, and there is additional funding to support projects that help rebuild communities.
The plan includes my Bridge Investment Act, to finally repair and replace outdated bridges – Ohio has more than 3,200 of them, from the Western Hills Viaduct in Southeast Ohio to the State Street Bridge in the Mahoning Valley.
It also provides more than $1.3 billion to Ohio transit agencies over the next five years, so communities can expand service and add new pollution-free buses.
And because of the work we did with Senator Portman, this work will be done by American workers, with American-made – and hopefully Ohio-made – iron and steel. We worked to make sure this infrastructure plan has the strongest Buy America rules in any infrastructure plan, ever.
This is an investment in Ohio that will pay off for years to come. It will create jobs, it will help attract new businesses and keep the existing ones, and it will draw in investment to help cities grow and create opportunity.
That’s how we support workers. That’s how we invest in Ohio communities. And that’s how we rebuild our economy out of this pandemic, stronger than before.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.