Latest Bridge Analysis Underscores Need for Brown’s Legislation to Update, Repair Ohio Bridges

Ohio has 12th Highest Number of Structurally Deficient Bridges in U.S.; Senator’s Bill Would Provide Significant Federal Investment in Bridge Repair, Apply “Buy America” Provisions to Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new analysis of the nation’s bridges underscores the need for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) Bridge Investment Act, which calls for significant investment in bridge repair projects. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association today released an analysis that says Ohio has the twelfth highest number of structurally deficient bridges in the country. The report comes just before President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, where he is expected to lay out his infrastructure plan.

“This report is the latest example of why Ohioans so badly need updated bridges to get them to and from work, school and the doctor,” said Brown. “I hope President Trump will lay out a plan to rebuild the nation’s bridges, and invest in our entire infrastructure system, from roads to affordable housing to schools. Infrastructure investment will create jobs and grow the U.S. economy. I’m ready to work with the President to make this investment a top priority, but it needs to be new investment, not a plan that steals money from current programs that help our towns and cities.”

Brown’s bill aims to support bridge projects by creating a competitive grant program that invests $75 billion over 10 years in bridge repair projects. These funds would help leverage additional investment from state and local entities. Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, introduced his bill with Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The Senators’ respective Committees represent key Committees in developing an infrastructure package. The bill would help repair bridges of all sizes in urban and rural areas, and require all projects to use American-made steel and iron for bridge projects funded by the bill.

Earlier this year, Brown released a full county-by-county list of “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete” bridges in Ohio. The list is available here.

Brown’s Bridge Investment Act would:

  • 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.

A number of Ohio and national organizations are supporting Brown’s bill.