U.S. Plans to Spend $27 Billion to Repair Bridges

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States will be funded on a need basis, California is expected to get $4.2 billion

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State and local governments typically have to kick in up to 20% of the cost of bridge work in order to win federal funding. Administration officials said Thursday they are removing the need for bridges that are not connected to the federal highway system.

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Administration officials said this would serve as an incentive to state and local governments to take up projects that are usually not prioritized. If states want to use federal money for bridges that are part of the federal highway system, they will still have to kick in 20% of the cost of those projects, officials said.

“This record amount of funding, made possible by the bilateral infrastructure law, will allow states and tribal governments to fix bridges most in need of repair,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in a statement.

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The White House estimates that five years of funding could improve 15,000 highway bridges across the country. Under the funding plan, states and tribal governments will be awarded $5.4 billion in the current fiscal year, administration officials said.

According to the Department of Transportation’s 2020 National Bridge Inventory, more than 45,000 bridges across the country are in poor condition. Officials said any pulls on the inventory qualifies for a share of the $27 billion.

To help states plan ahead, the administration is detailing how much money each will receive for the bridge program over the next five years. California, which had more than 1,500 bridges in poor condition according to its inventory, is expected to receive the most, about $4.2 billion.

The administration has stepped up its efforts in recent days to highlight President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure funding signed into law 60 days ago. His infrastructure jargon, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, this week urged congressional Democrats to start talking more about infrastructure.

In a letter to governors last week, Mr Landrieu said the federal government had already received more than $65 billion “out the door” for roads and bridges. The Federal Aviation Administration announced a $3 billion program to modernize more than 3,000 airports, and the Department of Transportation awarded a $230 million grant to modernize more than 30 seaports.

Write Julie Bykowicz at [email protected]

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