President Biden Highlights Bipartisanship and Infrastructure at Brent Spence Bridge

Jan. 5, 2023
Biden's visit to the Kentucky-Ohio border was the announcement for $1.6 billion for the Brent Spence Bridge on the Ohio River.

President Biden visited Kentucky Wednesday to announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded $1.635 billion to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to construct a new companion to the aging Brent Spence Bridge.

Biden was joined by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Mitch McConnell, and former Senator Rob Portman. 

“We all know these are really partisan times. But I always feel that no matter who gets elected, once it’s all over, we ought to look for things that we can agree on and try to do those, even while we have big differences on other things,” McConnell said in brief remarks before Biden took the stage. The Senate's minority leader called the bridge an example of bipartisanship that the “country needs to see.”

The bridge visit is part of a push by Biden to highlight the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which contains $1.2 trillion for infrastructure projects across America. The money will be critical not just for the communities getting the help but to Biden's political theory that voters are hungry for bipartisanship that delivers tangible results.

“I believe it sends an important message, an important message to the entire country," Biden said from a stage overlooking the soon-to-be-renovated bridge. “We can work together. We can get things done. We can move the nation forward, but just drop a little bit of our egos and focus on what is needed in the country.”

The Brent Spence, which carries Interstates 71 and 75 between Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, was declared functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the 1990s. It has become an outsized symbol of the nation's crumbling infrastructure, with successive presidents singling out the aging span as they stumped for better roads and bridges.

“Whether it’s a safer commute to work, or businesses safely and affordably transporting their products, this bridge will make life better for people in Ohio and Kentucky,” said Brown during his remarks. “Today shows just what we can achieve for the region and for the country when everyone works together.” 

DeWine's office says that with funding secured, groundbreaking on the project is anticipated for late 2023, with substantial completion slated for 2029.

"Mr. President, we welcome you back. I can’t say welcome to Ohio, but you can at least see Ohio from here. Welcome back. We appreciate your leadership," DeWine told Biden during Wednesday's event.