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Every Week Is Infrastructure Week: POTUS Announces Program to Repair/Replace Bridges

Every Week Is Infrastructure Week: POTUS Announces Program to Repair/Replace Bridges

President Joe Biden on Friday announced a new program to repair and replace the nation’s bridges through funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law that passed Congress in November. The law ultimately passed Congress with support from both Republicans and Democrats after the President toured the country to bring his own personal experience as a daily commuter to the American people.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is launching the Bridge Formula Program, which will provide $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico over the next five years, as well as $825 million for tribal bridges, according to a senior administration official. The Federal Highway Administration will distribute $5.3 billion to states, DC, and Puerto Rico during the 2021 fiscal year, along with $155 million to native tribes. There are more than 43,000 bridges in poor condition across the country, according to 2021 data from the National Bridge Inventory.

WOODSTOCK, NH – NOVEMBER 16: US President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure while visiting the NH 175 bridge spanning the Pemigewasset River on November 16, 2021 in Woodstock, New Hampshire. The visit to the bridge, listed in poor condition since 2013, follows the signing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday. (Photo by John Tully/Getty Images)

The program is expected to improve 15,000 highway bridges, as well as “off-system” bridges that carry smaller roads and are not part of the federal highway system. Under the new program, the entire cost of repairing or rehabilitating off-system bridges can be covered with federal funds. Funding from the program also can be used to make bridges more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians.

President Biden, who relied on the public railways when taking the Amtrak commuter rails as a Senator, talked about his own experiences as a daily traveler. The President also spoke about bridges he has personally visited in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Louisiana that are all in need of repairs, stressing the important role bridges play in communities. “People have written me about bridges they depend on,” President Biden said. “One man told me that the bridge he traveled on every day is a tragedy waiting to happen. One woman wrote that a bridge near the center of her town had to be closed and now drivers and tourists bypass downtown, consequently devastating local businesses.”

“One person wrote to me to say ‘This is your chance to show the people in my area that they matter to you,’ “the President continued. “I hear you. I hear you,” he said emphatically. “You do matter to me, and we are going to get it done.”

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