The Biden Administration has announced, on Jan. 14, 2022, an initiative to repair or replace decaying bridges across the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Native American tribal lands. Funding will come from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law in November 2021
Costing more than $27.3 billion, the five-year program is slated to improve about 15,000 highway bridges, in addition to various bridges that are not part of the federal highway system. In the U.S. federal government’s fiscal year 2022, which ends on Sept. 30, 2022, the program is expected to spend nearly $5.5 billion. This represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the interstate highway system.
The Bridge Problem
According to the 2021 National Bridge Inventory compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, more than 43,000 bridges across the U.S. are in poor condition. Meanwhile, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the infrastructure system in the U.S. an overall score of C- in 2021.
The Bridge Repair and Replace Program
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill included $550 billion for investments in roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, waterways, and energy systems. Funds for the bridge repair and replacement program will be distributed to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Native American tribal lands.
Proponents of spending to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure argue that doing so will facilitate moving goods and people across the country more efficiently and may help to prevent a future supply chain crisis. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment that will grow the economy, enhance the competitiveness in the world, create good jobs and make our transportation more sustainable and equitable,” according to the senior Biden Administration official quoted above.
Related Spending Initiatives
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is also rolling out plans to build 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation is distributing $56 billion to improve highways, airports, and shipping ports.
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