We’re on the verge of an historic investment in Ohio infrastructure that will create good-paying jobs in communities all over the state. And one of the most critical parts of this effort is our plan to rebuild Ohio bridges, with American materials made by American workers.
Right now, there are more than 3,200 bridges across Ohio that need repairs to make them safer and to reduce congestion, so people can get to work, kids can get to school and we can move goods and services that support Ohio jobs.
1,300 of those are in such bad shape, they’re classified as “structurally deficient.”
This month I talked with 81-year-old Howard Krueger – he lives in Wyoming, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, he’s retired from Proctor and Gamble, and a few years ago, as he was driving, a piece of the Western Hills Viaduct fell from the bridge onto his windshield.
It’s a pretty visceral example of what we all know – our communities needs this investment.
It’s why for years now, I’ve introduced the Bridge Investment Act, which will put Ohioans to work repairing and updating Ohio bridges, with American iron and steel.
This week, we are on the verge of getting this passed, as part of the bipartisan infrastructure investment bill we’re working to pass in the Senate.
After years of effort, with a new president and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate, we are finally going to get this done. And we are going to include the strongest ever Buy America rules, to make sure that this investment in American infrastructure supports American jobs.
The entire time I’ve been in the Senate I’ve fought for Buy America rules on taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects.
In the past we’ve had to fight for this bill by bill, year after year, and too often, the rules weren’t strong enough.
When San Francisco built its new Bay Bridge, it was made entirely of Chinese steel, from a company owned by the Chinese government. In New York, a Chinese company won a contract to renovate the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
This time, we’re putting in place a clear, permanent standard: American taxpayer dollars should support American jobs, period. The investments we are making in transportation, water, utilities and broadband will support Ohio’s manufacturers, not their foreign competitors.
It means this investment will pay even more economic dividends. Companies like Cleveland-Cliffs, AK Steel, and Nucor are making steel right here in Ohio that can rebuild the Viaduct and Center Street Bridge and Broad Street Bridge and I-70 over the Scioto River.
With the potential for hundreds of bridge repair projects, this investment in Ohio, combined with our strong Buy America rules, is a recipe for job creation in every region of our state.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.