As a House-Senate conference committee finalizes a transportation jobs bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), U.S. Reps. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) expressed bipartisan, bicameral support -- from both sides of the Ohio River -- for critical resources that would support projects like the Brent Spence Bridge. In a letter sent this week, Brown, Davis and Schmidt urged conferees to include a provision to support large-scale transportation projects of "national and regional significance" -- like the Brent Spence Bridge -- in the final version of the highway bill.
"There is strong bipartisan support -- from both sides of the Ohio River -- for critical resources that would support the Brent Spence Bridge," Brown said. "Investments in road construction projects and bridge repairs put Ohioans back to work, while promoting economic growth. When companies decide where to locate, expand, and invest, transportation infrastructure is a critical factor in the decision. That's why it's so important that resources for large, multi-state projects like Brent Spence are included this bipartisan bill."
"The federal government should have a mechanism to identify, prioritize and fund projects like the Brent Spence Bridge that are essential to the American economy," Davis said. "The Projects of National and Regional Significance program would provide a merit-based system to identify and help fund vital transportation projects."
"The Brent Spence Bridge is enormously important to our regional and national economies," said Schmidt. "I'm hopeful that lawmakers in both the House and Senate recognize the need to support such projects."
Brown, Davis and Schmidt urged conferees working to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of surface transportation legislation to include the Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) program included in the Senate passed bill, S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). This program particularly helps projects like the Brent Spence Bridge that are large in scale and fall under more than one jurisdiction.
The full text of the letter can be found below. (A .pdf copy can be accessed here.)
As the Conference Committee works to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of surface transportation legislation, we write to express our support for the Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) program included in the Senate passed bill, S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, "productivity growth in freight transportation has long been a driving force for the growth of U.S. overall productivity and contributed directly to the growth of the U.S. GDP." Yet, we have failed to adequately provide the necessary resources for the safe and efficient movement of freight.
Critical freight infrastructure projects are often large in scale, multimodal and fall under more than one jurisdiction. As a result, these projects have difficultly receiving funds allocated to the states through existing formula programs. Multijurisdictional projects face complex funding issues and have less federal financial assistance programs at their disposal. The PNRS program included in MAP-21 provides states with an important tool to address large capital investment needs and freight projects which meet rigorous criteria and eligibility requirements
Maintaining the competitive and merit-based PNRS program found in MAP-21 will help strengthen nationally-vital transportation projects, improve U.S. productivity, and increase our global competitiveness.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.