$67 million earmarked for highways

Staff reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New federal funding of $67 million for Ohio was included in the government funding measured passed this week by Congress, which also includes $9.9 million of new funding for Ohio’s public transit agencies and additional funding for expanded testing of zero-emission buses.

“Investments in our roads and bridges create jobs and allow Ohio communities to grow,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in announcing the funding. “Ohio is leading the way in innovative transportation solutions, including The Ohio State University’s work to support zero-emission bus manufacturers.”

The spending bill that Congress passed includes funding for important Ohio transportation priorities, including:

$67 million to fund Ohio road projects through the Federal Highway Administration’s surface transportation block grant. This money supplements the approximately $1.4 billion of federal highway funding Ohio will receive this year under the FAST Act, the current long-term surface transportation authorizing law.

$1.5 billion for the TIGER grant program, which is a $1 billion increase. Brown recently unveiled a new infrastructure proposal that would expand the TIGER Grant Program. Brown has worked to secure TIGER grants for Ohio communities.

$9.9 million to fund Ohio’s public transit system, through the Federal Transit Administration’s “State of Good Repair and “Buses and Bus Facilities” formula programs. This money supplements the approximately $187 million of transit funding Ohio will receive this year under the FAST Act.

The bill specifically includes $2 million to expand testing of new low-emission and zero-emission buses. The Ohio State University and the university-affiliated Transportation Research Center are one of just two testing centers in the nation that the Federal Transit Administration will utilize to undertake the work.

Brown, who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees FTA, worked to secure the funding, and he included language to allow manufacturers of electric, fuel cell and other low-emission vehicles to bring their new models to Ohio for testing. Previously, all testing of new bus models had to be conducted at a single oversubscribed facility in Pennsylvania. Allowing OSU and TRC to conduct testing will speed the delivery of low-emission buses to public transportation agencies working to reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality.

Brown was previously instrumental in obtaining a grant for OSU for testing bus components, which qualified their testing center for the latest funding. During Senate consideration of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, Brown worked to double federal investment in zero-emission projects in public transit.


Staff reports