- The Biden administration announced last week that highway bridges will be the next type of infrastructure to receive major funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
- Over five years, the Bridge Formula Program will allocate $26.5 billion to help repair, replace and construct approximately 15,000 highway bridges, according to a Federal Highway Administration press release. In addition, $825 million will be available for tribal transportation facilities.
- The FHWA also released initial guidance for jurisdictions on how to use the upcoming funding.
Crumbling bridges are a serious problem in the U.S. A 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers report found that more than a third of the country’s bridges need repairs, 45,000 were classified as structurally deficient and 79,500 need to be replaced entirely. The new program aims to help address some of these deteriorating spans.
The new program is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release.
“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,” he said.
In addition to remediating federally owned spans, the Bridge Formula Program includes an incentive for states to direct the new funds to bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency, which are typically not in the federal-aid highway system. While states generally must match federal funding with up to 20% state or local money, the new guidance issued said that federal funds can be used for the entire cost of repairing or rehabilitating off-system bridges.
Overall, the infrastructure act provides more than $350 billion over five fiscal years for surface transportation programs.
The first major infusion of funds from the IIJA was announced late last year when when the EPA said it would distribute $7.4 billion to remediate ailing water infrastructure and lead pipes. The funding is part of the legislation's $50 billion investment in water infrastructure, which will be doled out over five years.