Shaheen Reintroduces Legislation to Repair Aging Bridges & Strengthen Infrastructure

May 14, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced her legislation to address the nation’s crumbling bridge infrastructure. The Strengthen and Fortify Existing (SAFE) Bridges Act would authorize $2.75 billion annually to create a program dedicated to repairing and replacing bridges in poor condition. In New Hampshire, 8.6 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient. 

“For far too long our bridges have been neglected, jeopardizing public safety and everyday travel for families in New Hampshire and across the nation. Investing in our infrastructure can’t wait any longer, which is why I’m putting forward the SAFE Bridges Act,” said Senator Shaheen“My bill would rehabilitate crumbling bridge infrastructure – presenting an opportunity to both strengthen our public safety and create jobs. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked over the years to boost funding for federal awards that address Granite State transportation and infrastructure needs. I’ll continue to fight for that funding, while also pursuing other avenues in the Senate that will allow us to meaningfully repair our infrastructure networks. The SAFE Bridges Act is a commonsense way to help meet that goal, and I’ll keep urging lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join me in this effort.” 

In its 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our nation’s bridge network a barely passing grade of C. According to ASCE, 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of our nation’s bridges are considered structurally deficient. Each day there are 178 million vehicle trips across these aging structures, many of which are approaching or past their design lifespan.  

The consequences of bridge failures are catastrophic, which is why Congress must act to repair critical transportation infrastructure. Although bridge repair projects are eligible for funding under current surface transportation programs, there is no funding source dedicated specifically to the substantial backlog of deficient bridges. 

The SAFE Bridges Act would restore critical investments in our nation’s infrastructure by authorizing an additional $2.75 billion annually to enable states to repair and replace bridges that are in poor condition. This funding, authorized through FY 2027, would serve as a dedicated funding source designed to address the U.S.’s substantial backlog of bridge rehabilitation projects. The bill would use a needs-based formula to provide states with funding levels according to their share of the nation’s bridges that are in poor condition. This funding would not be transferable to other programs or activities. 

Senator Shaheen’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Angus King (I-ME) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  

Full text of the bill is available here 

Senator Shaheen has long fought to bring federal dollars back to New Hampshire to invest in critical transportation and infrastructure projects to fix Granite State roads, rail, bridges and ports. She recently met with President Biden and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in Congress to discuss good-faith efforts to address our nation’s infrastructure needs. Shaheen introduced legislation that would create a national infrastructure initiative to fund innovative projects that promote energy efficiency while meeting significant transportation needs. A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has historically secured federal funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program – formerly known as the TIGER Grant program. In Fiscal Year 2021 government funding legislation, Shaheen helped secure funding for the BUILD Grant program, totaling $1 billion.