COLUMBUS—State Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 533, legislation which will allow Ohio, in conjunction with Kentucky, to begin the reconstruction and expansion of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor.

The bridge, which runs over the Ohio River between Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, originally opened in 1963.   It currently allows for $417 billion in freight to cross every year and is a commerce connector for 10 states, spanning from Michigan to Florida.  The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) estimates that 172,000 motor vehicles cross the bridge each day.  However, in its current state, safety and traffic concerns have caused the bridge to be labeled “functionally obsolete” by the National Bridge Inventory.

The reconstructed bridge will more than double the capacity of the current bridge, allowing for safer and more efficient travel for Ohio and Kentucky drivers.  H.B. 533 modifies tolling regulations by aligning federal standards with Ohio law.  In addition, provisions in the bill give authority to ODOT for the implementation of all electronic tolling, which will allow for open road tolling and more free-flowing traffic.  However, it provides safeguards through criminal penalties for the disclosure of private information gathered by all electronic tolling. 

“With the passage of HB 533 today, Ohio took the first step in resolving the issue with the Brent Spence Bridge problem. The economic impact of building a new bridge over the Ohio River will benefit Southwest Ohio for years to come,” Rep. Retherford said.  “With inaction from the federal government, we decided to take the lead here in Ohio. I strongly urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill. I also call on our counterparts in Kentucky to help us solve this issue.”

H.B. 533 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the Senate for consideration.

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