The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched the historic Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program (Bridge Formula Program), made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program, to be administered by the Federal Highway Administration, represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system – providing $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years and $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. The total amount that will be available to states, D.C. and Puerto Rico in Fiscal Year 2022 is $5.3 billion along with $165 million for tribes. The FHWA also published initial guidance on the new program.
California will receive $4.2 billion under the new program to address highway bridge needs. The funding will help improve the condition of about 1,536 bridges in poor condition and to preserve and improve more than 11,300 bridges in fair condition in the state.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in announcing the program on Jan. 14. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – in rural, suburban, city, and tribal communities.”
“This record amount of funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow states and tribal governments to fix the bridges most in need of repair,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “It will also modernize bridges to withstand the effects of climate change and to make them safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first responders or trucks carrying freight.”
Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct the new Bridge Formula Program funds to off-system bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency. While states generally must match federal funding with up to 20 percent state or local funding, the guidance issued notes that federal funds can be used for 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges. Specific to the FHWA, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides more than $350 billion over five fiscal years for surface transportation programs.