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Cincinnati hopes to get millions from the federal infrastructure law

Cincinnati Public Services
Becca Costello
A Cincinnati Public Services truck.

Cincinnati officials are working to get as much federal funding for roads and bridges as possible. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure law includes $5.5 billion in new funding.

Unlike recent federal stimulus (the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act), Cincinnati isn't guaranteed any of the money.

"There is not a direct deposit to the city to disperse funds as we see fit," said Morgan Sutter, director of grant administration. "We have to be able to build projects on an individual program basis and to be able to promote those through the appropriate process."

Out of roughly 280 programs, Sutter says there are about 80 grants the city or local partners will be eligible to apply for. Sutter says the grants will be competitive and the applications are time consuming.

Assistant City Manager Sheryl Long says the administration is dedicating a lot of resources to the infrastructure law.

"Residents of Cincinnati, we are utilizing these funds to pay attention to the things that are affecting you on a daily life — the bumps, the crevices, the holes, and things like that," Long said. "Where normally our resources are limited, we are working on behalf of you to try to make it as effective as possible for your commute."

Cincinnati is responsible for maintaining about $5 billion worth of transportation infrastructure, including bridges, pavement, and retaining walls.

The first application is for up to $25 million from Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) for a complete streets project. Cincinnati would use the money to renovate and improve safety on parts of Linn Street, West 8th Street, and State Avenue.

The federal funding is expected to be disbursed over the next five years.

Ohio is set to receive about $483 million, and Kentucky will get about $438 million, during that time.

The infrastructure law also includes a separate $39 billion for bridge projects across the country. Ohio and Kentucky officials recently announced a joint effort to apply for up to $2 billion from the infrastructure law to build a companion structure for the Brent Spence Bridge.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.