Between 1953 and 56, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower worked with a Democratic controlled congress to adopt the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. That triggered the largest coordinated federal and state infrastructure investment in the nation's history. Over the next 35 years it helped fund the construction of 42,795 miles of expressway at a cost of $129 billion, of which $114 billion was federal.
In the early 1960's a critical link in the sprawling system, the Brent Spence Bridge, reached across the Ohio River. Remember, bridges are never isolated structures, but elements of a system of approaches. In this case, the elaborate and often problematic Cut-in-the-Hill. The interstate system became its own worst enemy, encouraging the proliferation of auto and truck traffic. It began as a spacious bridge designed to carry 80,000 vehicles a day, on two decks with three lanes each. It now carries 175,000 vehicles a day, one fourth of which are heavy trucks, on reconfigured, crowded and dangerous 4-lane decks.
For both economic and safety reasons, the consensus is a new supplementary bridge must be built. The problem is how to pay for the estimated $2.7 billion cost. A new organization, Build Our New Bridge Now, has been formed by local organizations and individuals, to raise both funds to be used to create a communications and education campaign to educate the public, but also legislators about the need to get the new bridge built and the current bridge rehabilitated.
We are joined Sunday morning by two members of the Build Our New Bridge Now coalition. Libby Korosec is a public relations professional and vice president for external relations for the Castellini Management Company. Ms. Korosec managed the campaign to build the banks during a critical period. Tom Gabelman is a real estate attorney and a partner with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. He has been deeply involved with the banks development on the Cincinnati riverfront.
To learn more about the coalition and its activities, including information about how to join, go the the website, buildournewbridgenow.com
Look at any regional initiative or plan. Whether it is Vision 2015, Agenda 360, the United Way's Bold Goals, the one thing they all have in common is the prioritization and absolute support of early childhood education. What has become clear in the last 40 years is that 80 percent or more of all human brain development occurs between birth and five years of age.
But for working parents who have to find care for their pre-kindergarten children, where do they turn for advice? And in an industry that is not closely regulated, and often hires workers who have little or no formal training, where do they turn to develop their skills?
In 1972, 40 years ago this week, 4C for Children was founded to address those needs. The growth has been phenomenal. In 1980, 15 staff members helped 462 parents find child care and 213 workers develop their skills. In 2010, 54 employees assisted 7,412 parents and early childhood workers accessed over 22,500 trainings. And today, 4C provides services across 40 counties in Ohio and Kentucky.
One person has been there through the entire journey. Sallie Westheimer served initially as a board member, but has been CEO for over 30 years. In the process, Sallie has become a trusted voice in the field not only regionally, but statewide and in the nation. A video used to help people understand the importance of these early years is entitled, "Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything." It was not produced by 4C, but it captures a lot about why their work is so important.