Governors Beshear, DeWine Pledge to Seek Federal Funding for Brent Spence Bridge Project

Monday February 28, 2022

COVINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2022) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Ohio Governor
Mike DeWine announced today that they will jointly pursue up to $2 billion in federal funding
to drastically reduce traffic congestion on and around the Brent Spence Bridge, which
connects Covington, Kentucky, to Cincinnati, Ohio.

During a public briefing in Covington today, Governors Beshear and DeWine announced
plans to request up to $2 billion in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for
the long-discussed Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.

The funding is part of the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, which includes at least $39
billion for bridge projects. If awarded to Kentucky and Ohio, the requested funds would
primarily be used to build a new companion bridge over the Ohio River to give drivers an
alternative to the Brent Spence Bridge.

As part of today’s announcement, Governors Beshear and DeWine signed a memorandum
of understanding confirming the states’ intention to work together on the bridge project. The
memorandum also directs transportation officials in both states to begin preparations for
construction. A more detailed interstate agreement will be signed later this year.

“With today’s signing, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of Ohio are aligning
our efforts to make this project a reality,” said Gov. Beshear. “This memorandum spells out
our obligations and positions us to quickly apply for these federal dollars, which will allow us
not only to build this new bridge, but to do it without tolls! And just as important: This project
shows what we in government can do when we embrace cooperation and progress and
simply do what is best for our people.”

“For decades, the backups on the Brent Spence Bridge have frustrated drivers, hindered
economic development and slowed supply chain deliveries. Today, a solution is in reach,
and we are committed to aggressively working together to secure this funding to help us fix
this transportation nightmare once and for all,” said Gov. DeWine. “Not only will this project
improve quality of life for drivers in Ohio and Kentucky, but keeping this major transportation
network open and moving will also have a significant positive impact on our national
economy and national security.”

The Brent Spence Bridge was constructed in the 1960s to carry around 80,000 vehicles a
day, but the daily I-75 and I-71 traffic load has reached 160,000 vehicles in recent years.
Because I-75 is a key freight corridor stretching from Canada to Florida, the slowdowns also
impact commerce throughout the eastern United States.

The teams at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Ohio Department of
Transportation (ODOT) have been planning the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project for
nearly two decades, completing the critical groundwork that has made this project nearly
shovel ready. Because of this previous planning, project construction could potentially begin
in 2024 if funding is received.

“The Brent Spence Bridge is the critical link in this important corridor,” said KYTC Secretary
Jim Gray. “New funding will support the construction of a new bridge – not a replacement –
as well as updates to the existing bridge and the interstate network throughout the corridor.
The Brent Spence Bridge is safe and structurally sound and will serve a critical
transportation need for decades to come.”

“The signing of this document is a very clear and public show of action by both states,” said
Dr. Jack Marchbanks, director of ODOT. “This critical step will help be competitive in the
federal grant process and will allow the bi-state team to start moving this project forward.”

Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Fact Sheet

The planned transportation project will not replace the Brent Spence Bridge, because the
bridge remains structurally sound. The new funding would cover the bulk of the cost for
KYTC and ODOT to construct the new companion bridge to the west of the current bridge.
The project would also make improvements to the existing bridge surrounding the eight-mile
interstate corridor.

The second bridge would add much-needed capacity by separating local and through traffic
to ease the ongoing traffic backups. The project would also provide an opportunity to invest
in local businesses and a growing workforce by improving safety and travel along this
critical national corridor for commerce and freight.

The states will apply for the federal grant funding together once application guidance is
released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If funding is granted, both states have
agreed to contribute any required matching funds.

Additional Bipartisan Statements of Support for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky):
“I’m glad Kentucky and Ohio’s governors are taking this important step today to make sure
this project gets done. I was proud to support last year’s landmark bipartisan infrastructure
deal because I know the vast, positive impact it will have on our state and economy.
Already, Kentucky is slated to receive more than $5 billion in federal funds to improve our
roads, bridges, riverports, railways, broadband and more. The bill also created several
competitive grant programs for which states like Kentucky and Ohio can apply to help
address major projects like the Brent Spence Bridge.”

Senator Rob Portman (Ohio):
“Today’s announcement is great news for Cincinnati, as well as the larger region, and it
brings us one step closer to a new companion bridge, which will ease traffic along the Brent
Spence Bridge Corridor. Ohio’s transportation needs were a top priority for me during
negotiations for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which has helped
pave the way for today’s MOU signing. I will continue to work with state and federal partners
to ensure this project comes to fruition.”

Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio):
“I am proud that after decades of neglect and empty promises, we are finally on the verge of
building a new companion bridge to the Brent Spence, because of the bipartisan
infrastructure law. I wrote the Bridge Investment Act with Brent Spence in mind, a
nationally-significant crossing that is vital to Ohio’s economic future. Today’s announcement
is an important step toward creating new jobs and making Ohio and our country more
competitive. I congratulate Governors DeWine and Beshear and transportation leaders in
both states for moving this critical project forward under the infrastructure law. My focus
over the coming months will be working with President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg to
help Ohio and Kentucky receive the largest possible grant for the new bridge.”