Legislation recently reintroduced in the U.S. Senate would establish a program to provide funding specifically for the repair and replacement of bridges in poor condition.
There are more than 47,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States with an average age of 62 years. Every day, 178 million vehicles travel these bridges, according to an American Road & Transportation Builders Association report.
The SAFE Bridges Act would authorize $2.75 billion annually through Fiscal Year 2025. Funding would be allocated based on a needs formula according to a state’s share of deficient bridges.
Funds could also be used for corrosion-protection systems and maintaining surface coating.
“My legislation would provide an overdue initial investment to repair our nation’s bridges, which will also help create jobs,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who reintroduced the bill, said. “Both the president and members of Congress from both parties have spoken about the need to rehabilitate our aging infrastructure – this bill presents an opportunity to begin to make good on that pledge. As bridges in New Hampshire and across the country continue to crumble from disrepair, the need for bipartisan cooperation has never been more urgent. Continued neglect poses significant public safety risks and jeopardizes our economy.”
A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives.