$27B Historic Bridge Investment to Spur Job Growth

The investment marks the nation's biggest federal investment in bridges since construction of the interstate highway system. The program is expected to address issues with 15,000 highway bridges nationwide

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There are more than 617,000 bridges across the United States. Currently, 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of the nation’s bridges, are considered structurally deficient, meaning they are in “poor” condition. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) what that boils down to is American are crossing deteriorating bridges 178 million times a day. 

After the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which will dedicate $1.2 trillion to our nations crumbling assets over the next five years, the Biden administration is launching a new multi-billion-dollar bridge investment program that will provide funds to repair bridges across the country using BIL money. 

The program, which will be administered by the Transportation Department’s Federal Highway Administration, will provide $26.5 billion to states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico and $825 million to tribes over the next five years to repair existing bridges and build new ones. The total amount that will be available to states, D.C. and Puerto Rico in Fiscal Year 2022 is $5.3 billion.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities.”

“This record amount of funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow states and Tribal governments to fix the bridges most in need of repair,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “It will also modernize bridges to withstand the effects of climate change and to make them safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first responders or trucks carrying freight,” she added.

Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 highway bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, which are generally locally- owned facilities not on the federal-aid highway system.

The US DOT says the administration is allocating funds to states based on need, with states responsible for deciding what bridge projects will get funded. The funding for the current fiscal year will go out to states immediately, a senior administration official said, adding that the results could be seen as soon as the states get the projects underway.

The senior administration official said that the administration is encouraging states to use funds to repair existing bridges where possible.

Union Job Creation Expected

Job creation has been a big selling point of the BIL since Biden began talking about the legislation last year. The White House has said that  the legislation will create good-paying, union jobs and these investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade.With funding being dispersed, associations are gearing up for the jobs this work will create. 

Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued this statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement of a historic bridge investment program, made possible by the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: 

“We applaud the Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration for today launching this historic federal investment, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to repair America’s bridges.

“Our coalition has long called for these desperately needed and long overdue investments to address maintenance backlogs and to ensure that America’s bridges keep pace with growing demand on our roads. A high-functioning interconnected highway bridge system is necessary to move freight traffic, like the essential goods that our transportation network and workforce have continued to deliver during the pandemic despite enormous challenges.

“For too long, the federal government has looked the other way on bridge maintenance and replacement, stunting our nation’s economic growth, placing even greater strain on commuters who spend hours in traffic and whose safety is put at risk when we fail to invest. 

“By meeting those needs head on and investing more than $27 billion in federal funding over the next five years, this historic Bridge Formula Program will not only help move people and goods safely and more efficiently, but it will put people to work repairing and rebuilding our bridges while creating and supporting good union jobs.

“We proudly represent construction and trades unions whose members – including paintersoperating engineerslaborers, and other workers – will be critical to fixing the approximately 15,000 bridges across the nation that stand to benefit from this new funding. 

“Thanks to President Biden, who pledged to voters that he’d create jobs and fix our roads and bridges, and leaders in Congress who supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, we’ve got the funding. Now, let’s get to work.”

More Industry Excitement for Historic Investment

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure Ed Mortimer today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Transportation launched the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection and Construction Program (Bridge Formula Program) with more than $27 billion for states and tribal transportation facilities to fix an estimated 15,000 bridges nationwide:

“This investment in modernizing America’s bridges is a critical next step following the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will lead to improved safety, economic growth, job creation, and better quality of life for all Americans.

“We have been waiting decades for this kind of investment to fix our crumbling bridges. We commend the Administration for providing much needed funds to states and tribal transportation facilities to finally replace, repair, preserve and build bridges in their local communities.

“It is imperative that continued investment is provided to states to ensure they have the resources needed to advance our nation’s infrastructure. The Chamber is ready to work with our partners in business, labor and government to ensure this once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize America’s infrastructure leads to long-term economic growth and improved quality of life.”