WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a meeting today with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Senate-approved transportation jobs bill – the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act – which would provide critical funds for the repairs of Brent Spence Bridge. Unless the transportation jobs bill is passed by the House, Ohio stands to lose an estimated $1.4 billion, jeopardizing more than 50,050 Ohio jobs. Instead of voting on the bipartisan Senate bill – which passed by a vote of 74-22 – the House is considering a short-term extension of the bill, which could potentially cause project delays and overruns and does not include critical funds that would advance the creation of more than 4,000 jobs at Piketon’s American Centrifuge.
“When companies decide where to locate, expand, and invest, water, transportation and energy infrastructure are critical factors in the decision,” Brown said. “And that message was echoed today when I met with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. The Brent Spence Bridge is the main artery for southwest Ohio and businesses across the nation; necessary repairs shouldn’t be delayed because of partisan politics. That’s why the House needs to pass the Senate jobs bill that puts Ohioans back to work, repairs bridges, and finishes road construction projects.”
Brown renewed his call for the House to pass the bipartisan Senate bill and to abandon a House version of the bill that would make dangerous cuts to highway funding and to mass transit. A previous version of the House bill would provide Ohio with $94 million less in highway funds than the Senate version while also jeopardizing $160 million in funds for Ohio transit agencies. The House is now considering a short-term extension of the highway bill, a move that some transportation advocates fear could eat into summer construction season and potentially cause project delays and cost overruns.
If the House passes a short-term extension of the bill, critical funds to advance the creation of more than 4,000 jobs at Piketon’s American Centrifuge Project (ACP) would also be at risk. As part of the transportation jobs bill, Brown also secured resources for Piketon’s American Centrifuge Plant (ACP). Working with members of Senate leadership from both sides of the aisle, Brown led the effort to include $150 million in merit-based funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) research, development, or deployment (RD&D) program. The funds will help ensure that the ACP is in the strongest position possible to receive a loan guarantee from DOE, which would help create 4,000 jobs in Southern Ohio.
Specifically, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act:
- Consolidates federal programs to provide greater efficiency and flexibility for states
- Expands financing programs, like the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA), that use federal funding to leverage private investments in transportation;
- Establishes performance measurements that emphasize an outcome-based approach to improve results and accountability;
- Improves flexibility for transit systems to use capital funds for operating assistance; and
- Includes a program for Projects of Regional and National Significance, like the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati.