Senator Brown warns of road project delays if congress fails to - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Senator Brown warns of road project delays if congress fails to act

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BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -

Critical funds used to repair roads and bridges in the Mahoning Valley could run out sooner than expected if Congress doesn't find a way to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, an account that's long been funded by gasoline taxes which haven't been raised in over 20 years.

"If Congress doesn't do its job, we could see a 30% reduction in federal spending. That is $400 million in cuts per year," said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

Federal highway dollars will start to dwindle in the coming weeks and stop altogether by the end of September.

Those dollars are used for things like repairs to bridges. In the Mahoning Valley, more than 120 bridges have been deemed structurally deficient, the most across the state.

"The longer we wait, the more dangerous they become and the more costly it is to repair them," Brown said.

Within the next few weeks, Congress must work to pass a six month extension of the transportation bill. After that, Senator Brown says Congress must get serious about a six-year bi-partisan bill.

If one wouldn't pass, a number of current projects, like the one at I-680 and Route 224 and a number of future projects, like the widening of Interstate 80 from Belmont Avenue to I-680 could be in jeopardy. Not to mention the thousands of jobs that come along with those projects.

For the last several years, money has been taken from the general fund to help cover the costs of infrastructure projects. Senator Brown says Congress must find its own revenue source for the Highway Trust Fund.

Brown says he would support increasing the gasoline tax if necessary.


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