Sherrod Brown Offers Trump Administration Infrastructure Repair Plan

Mar 20, 2017

Decaying wall at the Irishtown bend on the Cuyahoga River

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has rolled out an infrastructure rebuilding blueprinhe and other senators call a guide for President Trump.

Kevin Niedermier of member station WKSU in Kent reports.

On the bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Brown talked about the ten-year infrastructure plan which includes billions for roads, bridges, sewer and water systems, and public housing and transportation.

“Several thing will be part of that. The products, whenever possible, iron, steel, concrete, other things, should be made in the United States of America by American workers. We should pay prevailing wage, good union wages for these projects. These projects, we need real money invested in these projects, not Goldman Sachs kind of private financial incentives, but really working with real dollars to build these perojects.”

In the background was the crumbling Irishtown Bend hillside which would halt shipping if it collapses into the river. With Brown was Port of Cleveland President Will Friedman who is requesting federal help for a 48-million dollar plan to stabilize the hillside.

“Due to wear and tear over the years, this hillside is not in good shape. We’ve studied it extensively and it’s imperative that we make investments soon. This is not an expense we can put off any longer.”

The Arcelor-Mittal steelmill is downriver and depends on the Cuyahoga. Company Vice President and General Manager Eric Hauge says repairing Irishtown Bend is crucial.

“This river this year will bring in over four million tons of iron ore from Minnesota, limestone from Michigan. In addition to four million tons coming to Cleveland, over 10 million tons of additional raw materials come through the port, come through the river to our other businesses.

Hauge says 90-percent of Arcelor-Mittal's steel is shipped by truck, so good roads and bridges are also important to the company. Though President Trump has promised a Trillion-dollars for infrastructure, his preliminary budget also includes cuts in that area. The White House says funding will be shifted to infrastructure from inefficient programs that will be eliminated.