What the infrastructure bill championed by Rob Portman could mean for Ohio
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package aimed at improving the nation’s dilapidated roads and bridges while funneling money into public transit, broadband and more.
The legislation negotiated by the White House and a group of senators, including Ohio Senator Rob Portman, has been hailed as a rare bipartisan effort in a controversial political climate. Portman and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown both backed the package and said it would usher in much needed funding for Ohio.
The Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers awarded Buckeye State a C-minus for its infrastructure this year, with the roads being even weaker on their own.
“It improves the life of the mom or dad who commutes to work and gets stuck at rush hour every day and far prefers spending that time with his family,” Portman said in a speech Monday. “It improves the lives of people who are fed up with these potholes. We all want to fix these potholes. We all hate them.”
Following: “We’re in the ninth round”: Infrastructure Bill Could Create Way Forward for Brent Spence Bridge
Bill is now moving to the United States House, which is not expected to meet until September. President Nancy Pelosi said the infrastructure deal would only be considered in conjunction with a broader $ 3.5 trillion spending package that Republicans oppose.
Here’s what infrastructure spending could mean for Ohio.
Roads and bridges
The bill creates multiple funding mechanisms to help states repair and replace old, obsolete bridges like the Brent Spence Bridge between Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. This includes $ 12.5 billion for the Bridge Investment Act, which would provide grants of at least $ 50 million to bridges that cost more than $ 100 million.
Ohio is expected to receive $ 9.8 billion for freeway upgrades, including $ 483 million that would help repair and replace bridges. The state could also compete for more than $ 33 billion in subsidies for road and multimodal projects.
Ohio would get nearly $ 1.3 billion over five years to improve public transportation, although White House officials say that figure could change based on U.S. census data and figures reported to the Base of Federal Transit Administration national transit data.
According to Brown’s office, the package includes $ 5.25 billion for zero and low emission buses. Agencies in Ohio could use the money from this funding stream to replace diesel buses. It is also providing $ 13 million to Ohio State University and the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty to test and research zero-emission bus components.
“Too many people have lost their jobs or simply had major and major inconveniences in getting to work with an underfunded transit system,” Brown said in a recent interview.
Ohio would receive at least $ 100 million to improve broadband internet coverage statewide and provide access for those who don’t. According to the White House, 28% of Ohioans would qualify for a program that helps low-income families afford internet access.
Water and more
The bill allocates funds to several environmental initiatives, including $ 25 billion for the replacement of lead service lines and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and $ 1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Ohio would receive $ 1.2 billion over five years from two funds that help states and water supply systems improve water quality, according to Portman’s office.
Ohio would also be eligible for $ 140 million over five years to expand electric vehicle chargers and may seek additional grants dedicated to this effort.
Also included in the package: $ 25 billion in airport spending, funds for recycling scholarships and $ 1.25 billion for the Appalachian Development Road System, of which about $ 86 million will go to the ‘Ohio.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.