Whitehouse Bill Would Deliver $170 Million to Repair Bridges, Create Jobs in RI
Legislation would help fix many of the more than 56,000 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S.
Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Angus King (I-ME) in introducing legislation that would deliver up to $170 million to repair Rhode Island’s crumbling bridges and create construction jobs. The Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges Act (SAFE Bridges) would establish a program to provide funding specifically dedicated to repairing and replacing the more than 56,000 bridges across the country categorized as structurally deficient.
“Fixing America’s bridges would make motorists safer and create jobs in the process,” said Whitehouse. “In Rhode Island, the American Society of Civil Engineers rates a quarter of our bridges structurally deficient. And we are not the only ones dealing with this problem: tens of millions of Americans travel on defective bridges every day. On top of the federal highway dollars we already receive, this legislation would create a steady stream of funding to tackle the critical problem of our decaying bridges, including $170 million for vital projects in Rhode Island.”
In its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the nation’s bridge network a barely passing grade of C+. According to ASCE, nearly four in 10 of the nation’s bridges are 50 years or older and each day there are 188 million vehicle trips across these aging structures.
The SAFE Bridges Act would authorize an additional $2.75 billion annually to enable states to repair and replace structurally deficient bridges. This funding, authorized through fiscal year 2020, would serve as a dedicated funding source designed to address the United States’ substantial backlog of bridge rehabilitation projects. The bill would use a needs-based formula to provide states with funding proportional to their share of the nation’s deficient bridges.
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