When Ohio transportation officials got the bids back in spring for the next phase of an expansion of Interstate 75 north of Cincinnati, they had a rude awakening.
Inflation had driven up the mega-project’s cost by about $100 million above the $171 million state engineers had estimated. Officials decided to redesign the project, break it up into smaller phases and rebid it, putting off construction until the fall of 2023.
Ohio transportation officials are getting nearly $2 billion over five years from the $1.2 trillion federal bipartisan infrastructure law. But so far, the money they’ve received “has largely been gobbled up by inflation,” said Matt Bruning, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation. “It didn’t take all of it, but we’re pretty close to a net sum zero because of it.”
Across the country, many transportation agencies, which are getting about $350 billion in additional money for road and bridge projects over five years from the 2021 infrastructure law, tell a similar story.