Brent Spence Bridge could be in line for federal funding
CINCINNATI— July 24, 2013 — The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the OKI Regional Council of Governments support Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s actions today to amend the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill, ensuring federal spending on the most critical of bridge infrastructure projects.
Senator Portman’s amendment passed with unanimous support, ensuring that structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge, are the focus of new federal budget funding.
“We thank Senator Portman for this vital amendment as well as Senator McConnell for his co-sponsor. We need this type of cooperation to find a way to finance the bridge’s construction. Our states and our region have too much at stake to not work together to build this bridge as quickly and least costly as we can,” said Ellen van der Horst, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “Our safety, our environment and our economic ability to compete on a global level are all at risk if we delay.”
The changes to the “Bridges in Critical Corridors” fund require that structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges receive priority consideration. In his floor speech today, Senator Portman brought national attention to the Brent Spence Bridge and the necessity of repairing and replacing bridges like the Brent Spence, which is a critical national artery. The organizations jointly thanked Senator Portman for his hard work over the years and for his recognition of the importance of transportation as a part of the regional economy.
Mark Policinski, OKI’s CEO, said “The amendment provides desperately needed federal funding for projects like the Brent Spence Bridge. While state and local dollars will be needed, this region must make any effort to capture every federal dollar to finance this bridge, which is the backbone of our economy. Senator Portman’s amendment adds new federal dollars that we must pursue vigorously.”
The Brent Spence Bridge is termed, “functionally obsolete”, as it was designed to carry 80,000 cars each day and now carries 150,000. The Brent Spence is a lynchpin in a national trade corridor, carrying the equivalent of 4 percent of the nation’s GDP each year, but lacks funding for its replacement.
“Certainly, the local discussion on the importance of the Brent Spence and how to replace it has intensified in the last few years and we are appreciative that Senator Portman brought the discussion to the national level,” commented Steve Stevens, President of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, “We understand the limited realities of federal funding and continue to turn over all possible sources of available funding in order fully fund the bridge.” He added, “The recognition and focus on the need to fund nationally significant infrastructure projects like the Brent Spence Bridge is a dialogue we wish to continue and in which we appreciate Senator Portman’s participation.”
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