DOT Awards First Bridge Investment Grants
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the first round of grants from the bipartisan infrastructure law’s competitive Bridge Investment Program. A total of $18.4 million will reportedly go towards 23 projects in 23 states to create a long-term pipeline of construction-ready bridge projects.
Bridge Investment Program
In June, the DOT opened a call for applications of the competitive Bridge Investment Program established under the bipartisan infrastructure law. According to the release from the Department’s Federal Highway Administration, the program will provide $12.5 billion over five years, with nearly $2.4 billion available in Fiscal Year 2022 to help plan, replace, rehabilitate, protect and preserve the nation’s bridges.
The Bridge Investment Program is a competitive, discretionary program that focus on the repair, rehabilitation or replacement of existing bridges in the country. The goal is to reduce the overall number of bridges in poor condition, as well as aid bridges in fair condition at risk of declining into poor condition.
Additionally, the program expands applicant eligibilities to create opportunity for all levels of government to be direct recipients of program funds. States, federal lands management agencies, metropolitan planning organizations and local and tribal governments can apply directly to the program, reportedly making it easier to advance bridge projects at a local level.
The DOT reports that the Bridge Investment Program funding is unique in three areas because it:
The new competitive grant program is in addition to the $27 billion in formula funding through the Bridge Formula Program announced at the beginning of the year by the FHWA. In total, the $40 billion investment is expected to fund numerous bridge improvement projects across all 50 states.
First Round Funding
According to a release from FHWA on Oct. 12, the early planning grants will help fund early phases of project development to create a pipeline of bridge construction projects.
“Bridges represent more than just their physical structures—they connect people and communities and make it easier to go about our daily lives, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. These grants will help communities across the country move forward to modernize their bridges and make it easier for people and goods to move quickly, reliably, and safely to their destinations.”
The DOT reports that, in total, the Bridge Investment Program will be the largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the Interstate highway system, reaching $12.5 billion over five years.
The bipartisan infrastructure law reportedly provides a total of $20 million in fiscal year 2022 funding for Bridge Planning grants. The FHWA states they will reserve the remaining $1.6 million to award to projects identified under the upcoming Large Bridge Project grant awards that may be better suited for a planning grant than a construction grant.
“The Bridge Planning program will help create a pipeline of bridge projects that can potentially be awarded construction grants during the implementation of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These planning grants were all made at the requested funding amounts for bridges that are critical to working people living in communities across the country,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack.
“Through the Bridge Investment Program, we are helping communities as they plan to restore and replace bridges that play vital roles for the people who use them in their daily lives. Planning for these activities is a critical step before construction can get underway.”
Of the 23 projects awarded, the City of Seattle will recieve the largest grant at $2.4 million to plan for the replacement of the 4th Street Bridge over the Argo Railyard in the City of Seattle, following a previous seismic retrofit that identified costs were such that replacement was the best option.
A full list of proposed awards and a map of their locations can be found here.
Other Recent Infrastructure Awards
Earlier this month, the FHWA announced that it has released nearly $60 billion in funding for 12 formula programs under the bipartisan infrastructure law.
The funding for fiscal year 2023 will go directly towards all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to support investment in critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and tunnels, carbon emission reduction and safety improvements. The $59.9 billion in funding is the second year of funding under the bipartisan infrastructure law, representing an increase of $15.4 billion in formula programs compared to fiscal year 2021.
While several programs receiving funding are new, including the Carbon Reduction Program and PROTECT program, other programs have received a significant increase in funding under the bipartisan infrastructure law. The Bridge Formula Program, for example, has seen a 391% increase for this year over fiscal year 2021.
The FHWA reports that in the last year alone, thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law, funding has been used through various programs to support repairs on over 2,400 bridges and over $200 million in projects in 21 states.
Additionally, funding has supported improvements on over 5,300 projects through the Highway Safety Improvement Program, as well as more than 6,000 projects through the National Highway Performance Program.
The allocation of funding by state and program can be viewed here.