WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) continued his call for a significant investment in bridge repairs after a report this week 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. Last Congress, Brown introduced legislation, the Bridge Investment Act, that would help eliminate the national bridge repair backlog. Brown plans to reintroduce a similar measure this year.
“This latest report underscores the importance of investing in bridge repair,” said Brown. “Ohioans travel over bridges every day to get to work or take their kids to school. They deserve a meaningful commitment and investment from the federal government to make sure these bridges are as safe as possible.”
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.
Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has introduced a bill with Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The Senators’ respective Committees represent key Committees in developing an infrastructure package. The bill would help repair bridges of all sizes in urban and rural areas, and require all projects to use American-made steel and iron for bridge projects funded by the bill.
Brown’s bill would also:
- Ensure that a bipartisan infrastructure package could rehabilitate or replace nationally significant large bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky.
- 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 announced their support for the bill.