WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joined reporters on a conference call on Wednesday, discussing the continued fight to get an infrastructure deal done and what kind of funding Ohio could end up with.
On the call with Senator Brown was Howard Krueger, longtime Ohio resident and a living example of the dire infrastructure situation is in the state. He recalled the story of how a part of the Western Hills Viaduct in Cincinnati broke and came down on his car and did significant damage.
Senator Brown hopes that Krueger’s story is a call to action to properly fix Ohio’s roads and bridges, and not a warning sign of the larger issues that could be ahead if nothing is done.
“Everything we look at that matters to our lives, they’ve built it, but we simply haven’t maintained it,” Brown said. “Ohio’s bridges are too often literally crumbling around us. Right now there are 3,200 bridges in Ohio that need repairs.”
Of those 3,200 bridges, 1,300 have been classified as “structurally deficient” by the Department of Transportation.
Brown’s ‘Bridge Investment Act’ is a proposed part of the larger bipartisan deal that was largely put together by fellow Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Brown touted the potential $12.5 billion investment as an opportunity to improve some of its most important bridges, like the Western Hills Viaduct and the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. Brown also noted that the provision would create more American jobs by enacting strict Buy America standards.
If the act passes in its current form, Brown said that much of how the funding is distributed will be left up to the states.
“All the states are going to make their priority list. They will work directly with us,” he said. “Governor DeWine will make the decisions more than I make them, in terms of what they need, but I will help the governor and others in getting these (bridges) through the process.”
A final vote on the infrastructure bill could come before the end of the week.
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