In Batavia, Senator Portman Delivers the Keynote Address at the OKI Annual Luncheon

September 17, 2021 | Press Releases

BATAVIA, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered the keynote address at the OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana) Regional Council of Governments’ annual luncheon. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) makes an historic investment in America’s core infrastructure needs – roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water infrastructure, and other important assets. The bill, which has been endorsed by more than 100 industry associations, trade groups, and unionswill create jobs, increase productivity, and pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity – all without raising taxes or increasing inflation. Senator Portman played a leading role in crafting the legislation, which recently passed the U.S. Senate and will address specific infrastructure needs across Ohio.

In addition, Portman received The Henry M. Mann award. This award is only bestowed on individuals whose special service to the entire OKI region covers not just a year, but, a lifetime. Previous winners include U.S. Senator George Voinovich, John Niehaus (was an OKI board member for 50 years), CEO of CVG Candace McGraw and Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune.

“I enjoyed addressing OKI’s members at today’s annual luncheon,” said Portman. “The work that this organization does for the tristate area is critical for our region as we continue to tackle pressing infrastructure, economic and environmental needs. I had an opportunity to highlight the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and how this historic investment will repair and upgrade our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation as quickly as possible so President Biden can sign it into law.” 

Here are some of the ways the IIJA can benefit Southwest Ohio:

Roads and Bridges

The bipartisan IIJA provides $110 billion in new funding for roads and bridges, including $9.2 billion that will come directly to Ohio to help with roads and highways and $483 million to help with Ohio bridges.

In addition, Ohio projects will also be able to apply for tens of billions in additional competitive grant funding opportunities, including $12.5 billion in the new the Bridge Investment Act, $5 billion in a new National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program to help with large projects, $7.5 billion in the RAISE (formerly BUILD) grant program, and $8 billion in the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program.

In total, the bill will provide $60 billion – including $33 billion in new grant funding – for state and local governments to fund projects like the Brent Spence Bridge, which is in dire need of reconstruction and capacity additions of I-75 from the Ohio River through the Western Hills Viaduct interchange.  This funding could also be utilized for the Western Hills Viaduct Replacement, the I-75 and Milliken Road Interchange and North Hamilton Crossing project in Butler County, the Wilmington Pike Interchange Project in Montgomery County, the Grange Hall Road Interchange Project in Beavercreek, and more.

Ohio is also set to receive $86 million through the Appalachian Development Highway System to help with Southeast Ohio’s specific infrastructure needs. The ADHS has 33 corridors, five of which run through southern Ohio and stretch from Clermont to Washington Counties through US 50 and Franklin to Portsmouth through US 23. The IIJA provides dedicated funding for this network of transportation corridors across Appalachia for the first time since 2012.

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation also provides a 10 percent set aside within the surface transportation block grant program to states for recreational trails and other transportation alternatives. This provision will provide $7.2 billion nationally over the next five years. Some of that funding – in addition to competitive grants like the RAISE grant program – could be used to fund projects like the Ohio River Trail, the Great Miami River Trail, the Miami 2 Miami Connection, the CROWN (Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network) Initiative, the Flight Line trail project in Montgomery County, and other trail projects across Southwest Ohio.

Airports, Ports and Waterways

The IIJA also includes $25 billion in grant funding to support our nation’s airports. Both the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Dayton International Airport stand to benefit from this funding for pavement repairs, terminal improvements, and other airport infrastructure projects.

The infrastructure bill provides $2.25 billion over five years or the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. This competitive grant program is the main source of federal funding for port infrastructure needs and provides funding for planning, operational and capital financing, and project management assistance to improve port capacity and financing for ports across Southwest Ohio.


The IIJA includes $65 billion for broadband, including more than $40 billion to states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia via block grants. This is consistent with Senator Portman’s bipartisan BRIDGE Act proposal to help close the gap in access to reliable high-speed internet that persists in certain communities.  Ohio is set to receive more than $100 million in broadband funding that the state could use to help expand access throughout Southwest Ohio, making a difference in the lives of students, workers, and families.

Water Infrastructure

The legislation includes the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act and provides $23.4 billion for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving funds, which help finance a variety of water infrastructure projects such as stormwater projects and the construction of water treatment facilities. Additionally, the bill provides $10 billion to address PFAS and a historic $15 billion for lead service line replacement for which communities like Dayton and Cincinnati will be eligible.


Photos from the event are below: