Ohio gets $520 million in bridge funding from feds over 5 years



DeWine allocates large chunk to bridges maintained by counties and cities; Ohio bridges got C+ in national report

Two changes announced Friday mean millions of dollars in extra bridge repair money will be available to Ohio counties and cities, plus many smaller bridge projects will become newly eligible for state money.

Funding to address local bridges (those maintained by county engineers and municipalities around the state) will more than double, from $45 million per year to $92.5 million for each of the next five years, according to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office.

The $47.5 million annual increase for local bridges is part of the $104 million per year in bridge funding that Ohio will receive from the recently enacted federal infrastructure legislation. The other $56.5 million per year from that pot will go to ODOT at the state level.

“Essentially, what Gov. DeWine did was direct some of the formula funding for ODOT to instead go to the local programs where the bigger needs are,” ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ annual infrastructure report card gave Ohio a C+ in 2021 for the condition of its 44,736 bridges — the second-most bridges in any state, behind only Texas.

The group said 58% of Ohio’s bridges were in good condition, 36% were in satisfactory or fair condition and 6% were in poor condition. Of those 2,843 bridges listed in poor condition, 2,250, almost 80%, are owned by a county or local government.

Overall, the federal infrastructure legislation means $520 million in extra bridge funding for Ohio over the next five years, and DeWine’s move allocates $237.5 million of that for locally maintained bridges, about triple the amount the federal law requires.

“Many of the expensive repairs needed on small, locally-owned bridges cost far beyond what our communities can afford, which is why I’ve directed ODOT to devote more money to support local bridge projects,” said Governor DeWine. “By partnering together to ensure the necessary improvements are made, those driving over Ohio’s bridges can feel confident that they are safe.”

DeWine also announced that small locally-owned bridges will be eligible to apply for funding as part of ODOT’s Local Major Bridge Program, bringing the total number of eligible bridges from 54 to 238. The program pays for up to 80 percent of the construction and engineering costs for major bridge projects, with a cap of $20 million.

County Engineers will continue to apply for state funding through dedicated programs managed by the County Engineers Association of Ohio. Local governments can apply for ODOT funding through the ODOT Office of Local Programs website.

Ohio officials said the total state investment for bridges, of any type, from any funding source, is $407.5 million per year.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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