Ohio’s Senators Want Different Long-Term Solutions to Bridge Repair Funding

Photo by Jack Pearce via Flickr
Photo by Jack Pearce via Flickr

By Joanna Richards

Federal funding for bridge repairs and other infrastructure maintenance is about to run out at the end of July.  Both of Ohio’s Senators say Congress needs to take a long-term approach to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said neglected infrastructure is a drag on the economy. So he’s urging Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that would be funded by a one-time tax on multinational companies’ overseas profits.

“In our state, a quarter of our bridges are considered…“structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete,” he said. “Forty-five percent of our state’s major urban highways are congested.”

That slows down the movement of people, goods and services.

According to Federal Highway Administration figures from 2014, more than half of Cuyahoga County’s approximately 800 bridges have one of those negative designations.

A highway administration spokeswoman said “structurally deficient” means in need of repairs. “Functionally obsolete” bridges don’t meet current needs, she said.

Republican Senator Rob Portman wants to improve infrastructure by giving states more power to spend tax dollars based on their own priorities, with fewer federal mandates.

Right now, there’s an assortment of transportation bills sitting in committees on Capitol Hill but no comprehensive long-term legislation. 

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