Brown wants “Buy America” for Projects


Staff Report



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today (Jan. 24) outlined Ohio infrastructure priorities as he joined his Senate colleagues in releasing a framework for rebuilding and repairing the nation’s infrastructure while creating millions of construction jobs.

Brown helped draft a proposal that he and his Democratic colleagues released today titled, “A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure.” The proposal aims to start the conversation about how the $1 trillion President Donald Trump has promised to invest in American infrastructure would improve the nation’s transportation, water, housing and community infrastructure while creating thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs in Ohio.

“President Trump promised a one-trillion dollar investment in American infrastructure, built with American iron and steel and made by American workers. This blueprint would hold the President accountable for keeping that promise – and we stand ready to work with him to make it a reality,” said Brown. “It’s time to put Ohioans to work rebuilding our bridges and roads, eliminating lead from older homes, and upgrading our water and public transit systems, and building broadband networks that businesses need to operate in today’s economy.”

Ohio has one of the nation’s largest interstate systems and a major public transit network that would benefit from nationwide investment in infrastructure.

· Ohio has the nation’s fourth largest interstate system with 6,700 lane miles.

· Ohio’s public transportation agencies serve more than 300,000 passengers every weekday.

· Nearly a quarter of Ohio’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

· An estimated 109,000 Ohioans work in highway construction in the state.

· An estimated $14 billion will need to be spent to keep Ohio’s wastewater systems up to date over the next 20 years.

During a news conference call today, Brown highlighted several priorities for Ohio that could be addressed through the new proposal:

Buy America

The plan would apply Buy America to all taxpayer-funded public works and infrastructure projects to ensure that American tax dollars support American materials and jobs.

Last Friday, Brown introduced legislation to this effect and he wrote to President Trump urging him to make this a priority in his first 100 days.

Fixing Ohio Roads and Bridges

The plan calls for $210 billion for road and bridge repairs and $200 billion for a Vital Infrastructure Program (VIP), which would direct money toward projects of critical national significance.

Brown has long fought for the repair of the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, which President Trump has promised to replace. In the 2015 transportation package, Brown successfully fought to include a provision that create a new competitive grant program to fund major infrastructure projects, like Brent Spence Bridge.

Updating Outdated Sewer Systems

The plan calls for $110 billion to modernize outdated water and sewer systems.

For several years, Brown has worked on legislation that would provide communities with grants to help make needed updates to combined sewer overflow systems. This would protect Lake Erie and other drinking water from untreated waste and ensure that ratepayers do not face costly rate hikes. According to a recent report to Congress, Ohio needs a more than $14 billion investment in its clean water systems over the next 20 years.

Improving Public Transportation

The plan calls for $130 billion to replace and expand rail and bus systems.

As ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Committee – which oversees public transit – Brown has worked to boost federal funding for public transit. Ohio’s public transportation agencies serve more than 300,000 passengers every weekday. Sixty percent of Ohio’s buses will need to be replaced over the next 10 years, an expense of $750 million. Cleveland’s rail system alone would require $400 million to replace its fleet of rail cars and repair its tracks.

Eliminating Blight & Lead Hazards

The plan includes $100 billion to address affordable housing challenges, eliminate blighted properties that bring down local property values, and remediate lead hazards that put children at risk of lead poisoning.

Brown has lead efforts to protect Ohio children from lead exposure and worked to boost funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for monitoring and remediation.

Brown has also been instrumental in strengthening the Hardest Hit Fund, which gives communities funding to prevent foreclosure and demolish blighted properties.

Brown has advocated for funding to preserve and create affordable housing and worked to strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Rebuilding America’s Schools

The plan includes $75 billion to help modernize America’s schools without burdening local taxpayers.

Brown has worked on legislation to give schools the ability to make needed renovations, technology updates, and repairs.

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Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Brown’s office.

Information for this story was provided by Brown’s office.