Brown, Wyden, Whitehouse Secure $3.25 Billion for Bridge Repairs in Key Senate Bill, Expected to Pass Committee this Week

Highway Package, Expected to Pass EPW Committee This Week Includes Legislation the Senators Introduced to Provide Significant Federal Investment in Bridge Repair, Apply “Buy America” Provisions to Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced today that they secured a $3.25 billion investment for bridge repairs in the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Highway package that is set to pass Committee this week. 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Act, their legislation to establish a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges to ease the national bridge repair backlog.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 EPW 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.

“Rebuilding bridges across the U.S. will create new jobs and make our country more competitive,” said Brown, who serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “Ohio has more than 6,000 bridges that need structural repairs or other updates to make them safer and reduce congestion. But states and cities can’t do it alone – they need real investment to help fix these outdated bridges that clog up our roads and leave drivers at greater risk of an accident.”

“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 who serves as 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.”

“In Rhode Island and around the country, we have thousands of important bridge projects ready to create jobs and boost the economy.  Let’s do them,” said Whitehouse who is a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “That’s why I’m proud to announce that we’ve successfully included the Bipartisan Bridge Investment Act in this year’s Senate highway bill package.  This funding will address the backlog of local bridge repairs while creating jobs for Rhode Islanders.”

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, 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 EngineersNational 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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