- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a two-year, $200 million bridge repair and replacement program, according to Equipment World.
- Funded by BRIDGE NY, the initiative will focus on bridges that need structural work, have weight restrictions, are prohibiting economic development or are at risk of flooding.
- The state will fund the design and construction for the necessary bridge work, but municipalities must request the funds through a competitive application process.
In a similar process, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced the winners of approximately $800 million in FASTLANE funding, which is intended to pay for projects that promote "national shipping, transportation and port efficiencies." The government said it received 200 applications totaling $9 billion in requests but narrowed that field down to 18 winning applications. The USDOT passed on funding infrastructure improvements for Baltimore's Port Covington redevelopment project but awarded Virginia $165 million toward its $1.4 billion Atlantic Gateway initiative.
According to a 2015 American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) study, almost 10% of the 600,000 bridges in the U.S. were structurally deficient. The USDOT estimated that there was a $115 billion backlog for repairs but added that it would take 21 years to complete the work at the current investment rate. Of most concern, the ARTBA said, was the integrity of older, heavily traveled bridges.
States and municipalities have struggled to come up with the money to pay for bridge rehab and other important infrastructure programs. In an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) May report, the organization said that the U.S. is risking the loss of 2.5 million jobs and $4 trillion in gross domestic product by ignoring the coming $1.44 trillion gap in infrastructure funding over the next 10 years. The ASCE said surface transportation has the greatest need for funding and that if the U.S. doesn't take immediate action to come up with the necessary money, the funding shortfall could grow to $5.18 trillion by 2040.
Earlier this year, Cuomo unveiled his plans for "the largest construction program in the modern history of the state," which included the Penn Station renovation project, a $22 billion investment in upstate roads and bridges, the addition of a third track to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, and a $1 billion plan to expand the city's main convention center, the Javits Center.