From roads, bridges, rural broadband and resilient infrastructure, to ports, airports and transit systems, America’s infrastructure is getting a generational redo. And the Brent Spence Bridge, which spans Kentucky to Ohio and regularly closes and is gridlocked, has been considered a national marker for why the bipartisan infrastructure bill was necessary for America.
The Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition spoke with Kate Shanks, Senior VP of Public Affairs with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Chad LaRue, Executive Director of the Kentucky Highway Contractors Association, in this new ATM Podcast about the new federal funding headed to Kentucky. The state, because of fresh funding opportunities, will be able to focus on priority projects such as the bridge and the I-69 Henderson project in Western Kentucky and the Mountain Parkway System completion in Eastern Kentucky.
The Brent Spence Bridge, for instance, is functionally obsolete yet Shanks says the nation relies on 3 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) moving across it, and Kentucky is a major logistics hub. The bridge is “a poster child for this bill that’s passed and all the funding that’s been created because of it,” she adds.
LaRue says that in the next biennium, Kentucky will see $321.5 million, a 33 percent increase to the federal program, because of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) as well as leaders seeking available grants for significant infrastructure improvements. Grants are a major component of the federal dollars that tribes, states and territories will see.
The Kentucky General Assembly has already committed through general funds, and Federal-aid grant-anticipation revenue vehicles (GARVEES) bonds, $400 million in the next two years toward the new Brent Spence Bridge, estimated to cost $2.8 billion, and both states are working “feverishly” to bring money to the project, adds LaRue.
The IIJA is also “a quantum leap forward in the opportunity to deliver the federal program over the next five years,” says LaRue.Kentucky is home to Amazon, DHL and UPS and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). It is a day’s drive from two-thirds of the United States’ population and key freight, rail and air systems. Shanks sees that the new bridge — with help from the bipartisan bill — will usher in better mobility of people and products, safety, and increased business throughout Kentucky and the U.S.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce manages the ATM Coalition.