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Senate Dems Introduce Bridge Grants Bill

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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Senate Democrats introduced a bill last week to fund fixes to the country’s structurally deficient bridges, legislation that, while perhaps a long shot in a Congress controlled by Republicans who are working on their own infrastructure package, has still garnered support from many industry groups.

© / Alberto Bernal Gtz.

The new Senate bill would allocate a total of $75 billion to bridge projects over the next 10 years.

Senate Bill 2279, the Bridge Investment Act, was introduced Jan. 4 by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, with cosponsors Ron Wyden, D-Ohio, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI. The bill would allocate a total of $75 billion to projects on bridges deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete over the next 10 years in the form of a competitive grant program.

Grant Details

According to the legislation, grants distributed as part of the proposed program would be at least $2.5 million for projects with a total budget under $100 million, and at least $40 million for larger projects. Recipients would include states, municipalities, governmental authorities and federal land management agencies working in tandem with states.

The grants would apply to projects that serve to “repair, improve, rehabilitate or replace bridges to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridge crossings, and for other purposes.”

The bill also calls for bridge projects receiving funding to use American-made iron and steel.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

$1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Still in the Works

President Donald J. Trump has long discussed a $1 trillion infrastructure funding package that would reportedly use $200 billion in federal investment to leverage $800 billion in private investment. That package has been pushed back several times, from mid-2017 to late 2017 and now January 2018. Politico reported Tuesday (Jan. 9) that the administration is debating pushing that bill back until after the State of the Union Address, which will take place Jan. 30.

Officials from trade groups including the American Road and Bridge Transportation Builders Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers told Transportation Today they support the addition of the Bridge Investment Act to supplement the pending Trump infrastructure package.

Also signing onto the bill are the International Union of Operating Engineers, National League of Cities, North America’s Building Trades Union, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the Associated General Contractors of America.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Funding; Government; Infrastructure

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