Portman: “Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement Paves the Way to Address the Brent Spence Bridge”


Legislation Provides Major New Sources of Funding for Infrastructure Projects like the Brent Spence Bridge


August 3, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the lead Republican negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, today outlined how the new bill would help the long-awaited effort to address the Brent Spence Bridge. Specifically, the bill will provide $60 billion – including $45 billion in new grant funding – for state and local governments to fund projects like the Brent Spence Bridge. The unprecedented resources in Senator Portman’s bipartisan infrastructure agreement will provide new federal funding and certainty for state and local partners to help move this critical project forward.

The bridge, which crosses the Ohio River to connect Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, is heavily trafficked and plays a key role in national commerce, with three percent of America’s economic activity crossing over it every year. The bridge, which was built in 1963 to handle 80,000 vehicles a day, is now used by double that amount – 160,000 vehicles a day. With no shoulder and heavy traffic, the bridge is considered a safety risk as well, and has previously been deemed ‘functionally obsolete’ by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“I am pleased this historic bipartisan infrastructure agreement paves the way to address the Brent Spence Bridge,” said Portman. “As a life-long Cincinnatian, I have seen firsthand the ever-growing need for our community to invest in a solution for this outdated bridge. By providing new funding streams, the Brent Spence Corridor Project will have the federal support our state and local partners in Ohio need to finish the job once and for all. I will continue to work with local, state, and federal officials to help secure the resources needed alongside a local match for an eventual, long-term solution.”

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides billions of dollars in available grant funding across multiple programs that could be used to fund the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project. These funding streams include:

  • $12.5 billion for the Bridge Investment Act to provide competitive grants for rehabilitation and replacement of bridges. Portman originally introduced this bipartisan legislation in May 2021 to address old and outdated bridges like the Brent Spence Bridge. For bridges of regional significance with total costs of greater than $100 million, grant awards should be at least $50 million, and for any other projects not less than $2.5 million.
    • As reported out of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee (EPW), the competitive grant program was slated to receive $3 billion in guaranteed funding. IIJA provides an additional $9 billion in supplemental appropriations for this new program to go toward bridges just like Brent Spence.
  • $27.5 billion for a new formula bridge grant program to states for further investment in the rehabilitation, repair, and replacement of our nation’s bridges.
  • $5 billion in supplemental appropriations for the brand new National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program, which supports multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects, like the Brent Spence Corridor project.
    • This program is authorized at $10 billion in the Surface Transportation Investment Act, which is included in this package.
  • A record $7.5 BILLION for the RAISE (formerly BUILD) grant program, which is the level authorized in the Surface Transportation Investment Act. This competitive grant program supports surface transportation projects of local and regional significance.
  • $3.2 BILLION in increased funding for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program. These funds are utilized for highway and rail projects that are deemed regionally and nationally significant. 
    • EPW’s surface transportation bill provided $4.8 billion in guaranteed funding for this program. Combined with the IIJA supplemental appropriation, INFRA funding for the next five years will total $8 billion.

BACKGROUND:

The Brent Spence Bridge currently carries more than 160,000 vehicles per day, double the 80,000 vehicles per day it was designed to accommodate. In addition, severe crashes on the bridge such as an accident last fall involving two trucks can disrupt traffic and leave the bridge closed for an extended period of time.

The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project will improve safety, economic activity, and ease of travel for residents in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky for decades to come.

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