NY lawmaker says fixing covered bridge to nowhere in Ohio an 'insult to taxpayers'

The Department of Transportation announced last August that it would contribute $520,000 to repair the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge. The total cost of the repair is $650,000, and $130,000 will come from Greene County, Ohio.

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Reed says the bridge was already replaced with a newer version 10 years ago, and that the total cost of the project will exceed the entire road repair budget of Xenia Township, where the bridge is located.

"[W]hile much of America's bridge and highway infrastructure needs updating or replacement, it is critical that federal resources be spent wisely," he said. "Careful investment in our vital transportation infrastructure will allow us to remain competitive in the global economy but this is not an example of careful investment."

Reed's remarks have the potential to spark a Northeast-Midwest feud, as Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said last summer that he supports the use of federal funds to repair the covered bridge. According to the Dayton Daily News, Brown said the bridge is an "important historical landmark to the community."

The Daily News reported that the Ohio Department of Transportation said it sees historic bridges as a "cultural resource" and "work[s] of art." But a Xenia Township trustee, Jim Reed, called the use of transportation funds to fix historic properties a waste.

"Those grants should be coming down for the basics — repairing aging water lines, sewer lines, roads," Reed said. "These projects, because they're somebody's pet project, those are getting priority, and it makes absolutely no sense."