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Brown: Need a long-term fix to transportation budget

 
Brown: Need a long-term fix to transportation budget
Posted Monday, June 30th 2014 @ 4pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The Federal Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of money by the end of summer unless Congress acts. Sen. Sherrod Brown, joined by construction workers, and the Ohio Association of Contractors, is calling for a six-year transportation budget to fix the issue.

"You simply can't grow an economy unless you're going to invest long-term in infrastructure," said Brown, a Democrat.

Brown says transportation budgets were passed in a bi-partisan way for decades. Now, he says, America has fallen behind in maintaining infrastructure.

"It is a safety issue, it is a business issue. It's a personal issue for everyone who drives a car, rides a bus, pedals a bicycle, or walks down a sidewalk or bike path," said Chris Runyan with the Ohio Contractors Association.

Without a reauthorization of the transportation bill, critical road and bridge projects could be delayed and more than 109,000 construction jobs could be at risk in the state. Ohio gets $1.5 billion annually from the federal government for road projects.

Ohio has more than 2,200 structurally deficient bridges.

The fix will likely have to include an increase in the federal gas tax. Brown says that if the federal contribution to states only kept pace with gas tax revenue, Ohio would see a 30 percent reduction, or about $420 million.

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