Promoting the American Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2021, President Joe Biden appeared with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and several other high-profile officials in Covington Wednesday touting the funding secured for the Brent Spence Corridor Project, which will improve the flow of traffic between Ohio and Kentucky.
“For decades, people have been talking about the Brent Spence Bridge,” Biden said. “But folks, talking is over. Through the bipartisan infrastructure law, we’re finally going to get it done.”
Biden preached bipartisanship in his remarks, giving praise to McConnell and other Republicans for their work on the bridge, in addition to Democrats.
“This was a day many people in Northern Kentucky thought might not ever happen,” McConnell said. “Every time we’d come to Northern Kentucky, the issue was always how we were going to get the bridge built and without the highly toxic issue of tolling. Today is a wonderful, clear day with the sun shining down on a legislative miracle.”
Constructed in the 1960s, the Brent Spence Bridge was designed to carry around 80,000 vehicles a day, but the daily traffic load on Interstate Highways 75 and 71 has doubled to reach 160,000 vehicles in recent years. Because I-75 is a key freight corridor stretching from Canada to Florida, the congestion impacts a tremendous amount of commerce and commuters navigating the corridor in the eastern United States.
The display of bipartisanship also included remarks and praise from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, and former U.S. Senator Rob Portman, both of Ohio.
Ashli Watts, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was also in attendance at Wednesday’s event, echoing support for the project from the business community.
“The Kentucky Chamber has long advocated at both the state and federal levels for increased investment in our Commonwealth’s infrastructure,” Watts said. “We knew in order to secure funding for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project, one of the most significant infrastructure undertakings in the country, it would take members of our state and federal delegation working across party lines. We appreciate President Biden, Leader McConnell, Governor Beshear, the Kentucky General Assembly, and everyone else who had a hand in making this project a reality.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also weighed in on the historic $1.6 billion in funding for the bridge project, issuing a statement via Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley.
“As part of the U.S. Chamber’s decades-long push to enact a historic infrastructure bill, we launched a successful campaign in February 2021 highlighting the failing Brent Spence Bridge as the type of project that demanded Congress’s attention,” Bradley said. “The approximately 60-year-old bridge over which 3% of our nation’s GDP passes each year has become a notorious chokepoint for commerce, workers, and families.
Project plans call for the construction of a companion bridge to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge, as well as improvements to the current bridge and the roadway network that ties into each river crossing.
Stay tuned to the Bottom Line for more updates.