CINCINNATI, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced new legislation that would put Ohioans back to work while addressing our nation’s infrastructure deficit which undermines economic development and commerce. Three percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) crosses the Brent-Spence Bridge—which needs critical repairs—each year.
“Our nation’s economic competitiveness hinges on the strength of our nation’s infrastructure,” Brown said. “Investments in infrastructure put Ohioans back to work, while promoting economic development. When companies decide where to locate, expand, and invest, water, transportation and energy infrastructure are critical factors in the decision. We must do everything we can to make Ohio’s cities ideal cites for investment. That’s why a national infrastructure bank is so important. It would leverage public and private funding to create jobs and repair critical projects like the Brent Spence Bridge.”
Last month, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) released a report that said failing infrastructure could cost the U.S. $2.7 trillion—or $129 billion a year— in lost productivity, and income in trade in the coming decades. ACSE reports that more than one in four of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and that about one-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
To address this, Brown outlined a bill that would create a national infrastructure bank to provide loans and loan guarantees for critical infrastructure projects—like the Brent Spence Bridge—of national importance that increase economic competitiveness, bolster exports, and encourage investment.
Brown’s bill would create a National Infrastructure Bank to provide loans and loan guarantees to projects that are in need of federal assistance because these projects are unable to obtain full financing at reasonable terms in the private market. The bank would also allow federal financing to be coupled with other sources of private debt and private equity to fund these projects; this would serve as an added incentive for private sector participation in project financing. Every $5 billion in infrastructure investments leverages an estimated $50 billion.
Brown was joined at today’s press conference by Frank Bruni, Vice President of Logistics for Kroger who discussed the need for a program to help support infrastructure needs in Cincinnati, UPS Great Lakes District Transportation Manager Dave Baumann, Ironworkers Local 44 Member Jason Mullins who discussed the impact infrastructure projects can have on workers, and Fred Craig, VP and Regional Business Manager of the Cincinnati office of engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.