President Obama is taking his message about the need to fix the country’s aging infrastructure and create jobs about as close as you can get to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) district next Thursday. And he’ll have a pretty powerful visual behind him: Cincinnati’s crumbling Brent Spence Bridge.
The bridge spans Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. Obama plans to use the backdrop of the bridge to drive home the point that Congress should pass the American jobs Act in order to secure much-needed investments in infrastructure projects across the country and put more Americans back to work, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday.
The President mentioned the city’s aging bridge in his joint address to Congress last Thursday.
“There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America,” Obama said in his speech.
Reporters seized on the news of Obama headed into Boehner territory, peppering Carney with questions about it.
“Is it a coincidence?” one reporter asked.
“It’s not a coincidence in that it’s an [aging] bridge and we have an infrastructure problem in this country,” he said.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Brent Spence Bridge linking Ohio and Kentucky carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day and billions in goods a year - 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, by some estimates.
The bridge carries traffic from Interstates 75 and 71, along with substantial amounts of freight, over the river. Overhaul is expected to cost well over $2 billion and take years, but despite years of planning the project still lacks all the funding needed from the federal government and the two states.