CLEVELAND — President Joe Biden signed an infrastructure law that will give Ohio $96.7 million just this year to help fix and rebuild bridges in the state.
Within her first few months in office, Congresswoman Shontel Brown announced Friday the state will receive millions solely dedicated to repairing and fixing up bridges and half a billion dollars would come in over the next five years.
“In Ohio, there are 1,377 bridges in poor condition, some of these are major bridges, but the funding I am announcing today is for small and medium-sized bridges,” said Congresswoman Brown.
Through state inspections they have already picked out dozens of bridges across the state, the majority are in Northeast Ohio. Of that, in Cuyahoga County alone, there are 10.
For example, three bridges on Martin Luther King jr. Drive might look fine from the surface, but officials say they are in terrible condition.
“More than 20,000 Clevelanders traverse this bridge each day to work to the hospitals or up the roads to schools,” Brown said. “It was constructed more than a century ago and it is in poor condition according to its latest inspection. That makes it one of the most heavily trafficked, stressed, structurally-deficient bridges in the entire state of Ohio.”
The funding will also bring in hundreds of jobs, specifically union ones.
“It going to give us the ability to recruit more people in building trades, in union programs and into jobs with good-paying benefits,” said David Wondolowski, the Executive Director of Cleveland Building and Construction Trade.
To top it off, this money is also saving the state tens of thousands of dollars in funding.
“The local dollars that are typically contributed are not needed. Now they are being waived, which allows us to continue to use our dollars for the community and other ways, and one to simply be able to access these dollars when we don't have to find 20%,” said County Councilmember Pernel Jones.
The start date is still pending, but Brown hopes we’ll see progress by the end of the year.
The infrastructure law also includes a different program for larger bridges through a competitive grant program. Those details will be announced at a later date.
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