Brown Talks Bridges and Infrastructure in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OH — In front of Center Street Bridge today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) outlined his Bridge Investment Act, which calls for significant investment in bridge repair projects. President Trump has called for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, and in a recent New York Times interview noted that the nation’s bridges are in bad shape.

  • Of the 28,284 bridges in Ohio, nearly 2,000 are classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 4,500 are classified as “functionally obsolete.” The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates there is a $123 billion bridge repair backlog nationally, with $30 billion of bridge repair needs identified in Ohio. 

“We need to make robust investments in infrastructure, so people can get to work, kids can get to school, and we can move goods and services that support Ohio jobs,” said Brown. “That’s why I introduced the Bridge Investment Act, which will put Americans to work repairing and updating Ohio bridges with American iron and steel.”

The Center Street Bridge in Cleveland, an historic swing bridge, is rated to be in poor condition and presently has load restrictions because of its conditions, according to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), which documents bridge conditions in northeast Ohio. The Center Street Bridge has experienced intermittent closures in recent months for both evaluation and routine maintenance. 

The Center Street Bridge is representative of the more than 190 bridges in the region that are rated as “structurally deficient.” These deficient bridges are regularly inspected to ensure the safety of the traveling public, but the pace of repairs could be greatly accelerated if more federal funding becomes available.

Brown’s bill would also:

  • Ensure that a bipartisan infrastructure package could eliminate the national bridge repair backlog, if the new bill is added to such a package.
  • Create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding. 
  • Bundle medium and small projects into a single application to cut down on red tape and accelerate repairs.
  • Allow entities of all sizes and scope to apply for funding, including: states, counties, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts, public authorities with transportation functions, federal land management agencies and Indian tribes.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Union of Operating Engineers, National League of Cities, North America’s Building Trades Union, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America have announced their support for the bill.