CINCINNATI — Funds are starting to flow from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill passed last year.
The Biden Administration announced Friday the Bridge Formula Program, allocating more than $27 billion to states to fix bridges nationwide.
Ohio will received a total of $483.3 million over five years; the state will receive nearly $100 million of that in 2022. Kentucky will receive $438 million in total, with $87.7 million coming in 2022.
“The big take away is the money is starting to come,” said Mark Policinksi, CEO of the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments. “The bill was passed in November and the money is starting to come. A lot more money is coming down the road and it’s going to be very, very competitive.”
Policinski said each state will determine how to use their funding. Although some could go to the Brent Spence Bridge, it is likely Ohio and Kentucky will work together to apply for federal grants under the infrastructure bill to cover the major project.
“It doesn’t mean that the Brent Spence Bridge is going to be funded and this money doesn’t mean if it doesn’t go there, it’s not going to be funded,” he said.
Policinski added that states are still waiting on rules and regulations on how to apply for the grants.
According to the president, $12.5 billion in grant money is being set aside for economically critical projects, like the Brent Spence Bridge.
A spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the Bridge Formula Program is different funding than the grant funding. Chuck Wolfe, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's deputy executive director for its office of public affairs, said in a statement the funding has already been programmed into Gov. Beshear's 2022 highway plan.
"Safe roads and bridges are a top priority of Governor Beshear, and that’s reflected in the new recommended highway plan, which calls for an overall investment of $3.6 billion in bridge and pavement projects through 2028," the statement says. "Managing and maintaining our bridges, pavements and other transportation assets in a state of good repair is essential for the health, safety and economic vitality of Kentucky.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation said it is too early to know exactly how the state will spend its allotment of the Bridge Formula Program. Still, Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said he is optimistic about Friday’s announcement.
“The money is coming. Until now, the infrastructure bill has just been this trillion dollar price tag, but now we know how much Ohio is getting specifically for roads and bridges,” Pureval said. “We’re starting to see those dollars starting to hit our states.”
Pureval said the money will be transformative for local communities. He also noted any projects funded locally will bring a boost to the economy. And, grow the tax base which has dwindled during the pandemic as more people work remotely.
“Construction jobs that are here in the city, that have to be done in person, that is all protected revenue. That will go to the city’s coffers, so that’s even more important to create those kinds of jobs in the short term and long terming our city,” said Pureval.