The US Department of Transportation launched the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection & Construction Program – also known as the Bridge Formula Program. The scheme, which has been made possible by the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will be administered by the Federal Highway Administration.
It provides US$26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years and US$825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. The amount that will be available to states, DC and Puerto Rico in the 2022 fiscal year is US $5.3 billion along with US$165 million for tribes.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this programme to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system,” said US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg (left). “Modernising America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – across rural, suburban, urban, 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,” said deputy federal highway administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “It will also modernise 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 travellers, school buses, first responders or trucks carrying freight,” she added.
Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 highway 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, which are generally locally- owned facilities 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.?States generally must match federal funding with up to 20% state or local funding but new guidance notes that federal funds can be used for the entire cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.