Kershner: Region’s Economy Relies on the Brent Spence Bridge

After years of collective advocating and Dayton-area logistics, distribution and manufacturing companies working side-by-side with partners in Ohio and Cincinnati, the fruits of our labor are here just in time for spring.

Dayton area logistics companies have an economic impact of well over $2.5 billion annually and employ over 25,000 people directly in our region. This impact and continued economic investment is contingent on a key need – efficient and convenient movement of goods on I-75 and I-70.  The competitive advantage of I-75/I-70 has been key to our economic attractiveness and key for private sector growth that values being able to get to 60% of the nation’s population in one day’s drive.

For decades, Dayton area logistics and manufacturing companies delivering goods to, and receiving goods from the south, have had to deal with the uncertainty of the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River. The bridge has been repaired, painted and stabilized. We know these fixes have solved the safety issues and structurally stabilized this critical corridor, but the fact still remains that a bridge built for 80,000 vehicles a day in 1960 is now transporting 160,000 vehicles daily in 2022.  To solve this problem, we need real investment. We need a new bridge. Realizing over $417 billion in annual freight, this bridge isn’t only important to Dayton and Cincinnati, it’s important to the entire world’s economy. The time is now, and we have a real opportunity to solve this problem, protect our supply chain and ensure the Dayton region remains one of top locations in the country for logistics and distribution companies.

Six weeks ago, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear took unprecedented action and committed to jointly pursuing $2 billion in federal funds for construction of a new companion bridge to the west of the Brent Spence Bridge. Funding will also continue the work to structurally stabilize the Brent Spence Bridge so that local traffic and through traffic can be separated, relieving congestion and solving significant back-up issues. This type of partnership has never existed before and represents a major milestone in moving this project forward.

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and infrastructure advocates have worked for years to advance Ohio’s public policy efforts for this project to acquire property, identify funding and conduct a number of feasibility studies. With the passage a federal bipartisan infrastructure bill in November 2021, there is $39 billion set aside for major bridges in the United States. Governor DeWine has opened the door for his Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation to get this done for Ohio. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to working with Governor DeWine and our partners to ensure that at least $2 billion of your tax dollars will be coming back to Ohio/Kentucky for this critical corridor.

There is no other project for the U.S. Department of Transportation to support with such significant global and nation economic significance than this new bridge. The funding is there, Ohio and Kentucky are at the table, and our businesses are asking for it. We’ve waited long enough, let’s get it done and keep moving forward.


Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF  of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.