Wyden Secures $3.25 Billion for Bridge Repairs in Bill Expected to Pass Committee This Week
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced today that they secured a $3.25 billion investment for bridge repairs in a highway package set to pass this week in the Environment and Public Works Committee.
The package includes the senators’ Bridge Investment Act, their legislation to establish a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges to ease the national bridge repair backlog. The $3.25 billion included in the highway package would fund grants under the new program, including multi-year grants to large bridge projects, and all projects funded by the bill are required to use American-made steel and iron. The highway package is expected to be a component of a larger surface transportation bill.
A report in April found that the pace of bridge repair has slowed, despite the fact that more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are ‘structurally deficient’ and in need of urgent repairs. The report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, estimates it would take more than 80 years to repair the thousands of ‘structurally deficient’ bridges in the U.S. at the current pace.
“All across Oregon, I hear concerns from Oregonians about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. With over half of the bridges in Oregon being more than half a century old, our state is particularly vulnerable,” said Wyden, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. “The Bridge Investment Act will provide a critical boost of funding to improve safety and promote economic growth. I look forward to a speedy passage of the Senate highway bill package so we can get to work helping to improve Oregon’s infrastructure.”
Additional Bridge Investment Act provisions included in the EPW package would:
- Ensure that a bipartisan infrastructure package could rehabilitate or replace nationally significant large bridges.
- Create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding.
- Bundle medium and small projects into a single application to cut down on red tape and accelerate repairs.
- Allow entities of all sizes and scope to apply for funding, including: states, counties, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts, public authorities with transportation functions, federal land management agencies and Indian tribes.
The American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Union of Operating Engineers, National League of Cities, North America’s Building Trades Union, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America have endorsed these provisions.
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