Last week, the administration announced that the first round of bridge investment is already on its way to Ohio, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan. After decades of underinvestment, Ohio communities will finally be able to begin projects to repair or replace more than 3,200 bridges across the state, making them safer, reducing congestion, and creating jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.
For years, Ohio mayors of both parties have been talking about the need to upgrade our infrastructure, particularly our bridges. It’s why I introduced the Bridge Investment Act nearly four years ago, and fought to make sure bridges are a major part of the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
Last week, the Biden Administration announced nearly $100 million in bridge formula funding for Ohio, allowing the Ohio Department of Transportation to get funding out right away to local communities.
This funding is key for small and medium-sized bridge projects, like the I-75 and County Road 99 interchange project in Findlay that the community has wanted to begin for years. I met with the Republican mayor of Findlay and leaders from Findlay and Hancock County this past week, talking about how they can put this investment to work for their communities, and now the community is finally going to be able to get this project off the ground.
This first announcement is just the beginning. This is for small and medium bridges –the opportunities for big projects, like the Brent Spence Bridge, are coming soon.
This funding is going to make the roads safer, and it’s going to mean jobs for local workers. This infrastructure bill is a jobs bill.
It’s going to create jobs doing the construction. And it’s going to create manufacturing jobs throughout the supply chain, because of our strong buy America rules. Those rules will ensure that American tax dollars support American jobs and American workers, and make sure these bridges use American iron and steel.
Over the past few months I’ve been to Cleveland Cliffs and Owens Corning in Toledo, and Gradall Industries in New Philadelphia, talking about the opportunities this will bring for Ohio’s steel industry and other suppliers.
For all of these projects – for bridges, and highways, and pollution-free buses, and water projects – much of my focus over the coming months will be ensuring that Ohio communities seize every opportunity.
The first week in February, my office will host a briefing with the department of transportation for local Ohio officials – mayors, engineers, county commissioners, city councils – on how they can apply for federal funding, and make sure Ohio communities are best positioned to make the most of this infrastructure investment.
Our goal is to leverage this investment to create jobs in every city, county, and township across our state.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.