LORAIN, Ohio — President Joe Biden returns to Ohio Thursday with stops in Cleveland and Lorain. When political leaders, presidents especially, come to a place like Northeast Ohio it's to either push for legislation that may benefit the region or to take a victory lap on something they passed that will. For Biden, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act falls into the latter. A pipeline of funds into Ohio that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently told News 5 will begin flowing almost immediately.
"There will be $97 million coming to Ohio alone this year alone just through the formula funds that are in here and that's going to make a big difference in Cuyahoga County and really across the state in making it possible to improve those bridges that we count on every day,” Buttigieg said.
That the president chose Lorain is not a surprise, a once-mighty steel town that stands to benefit beyond repairs to its bridges because the act requires that the steel for them be made in the U.S.
“There will be Buy America provisions,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “Where no more Oakland Bay Bridge where the steel is entirely made, the entire bridge is steel made by the Chinese."
In addition, Lorain is also a North Coast port town and the act includes $17 billion for port infrastructure and waterways.
"You don't have to be east or west coast to be playing an absolutely vital role in American supply chains,” said Buttigieg.
But it is mainly about fixing bad roads and bridges that the White House estimates costs Ohioans on average $506 a year in repairs. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our roads a grade of C- and our bridges a D. And while neighboring Pennsylvania is initially getting three times what Ohio is for bridge repair. Buttigieg said we'll see our fair share.
"Ohio alone so far we've been able to announce over $9 billion in formula funding through this bill including what I was just describing in terms of the bridgework and that's just the beginning."
This will be the president’s fourth stop in Ohio since his inauguration just over a year ago. It’s interesting to note that there was one county in Ohio that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama won in their presidential races that Biden did not, Lorain County.