On January 14, the Department of Transportation announced the launch of a $27 billion program to repair and upgrade nearly 15,000 highway bridges across the U.S. According to the announcement, it will be the most the U.S. has ever spent on a program dedicated solely to bridge improvements since constructing the interstate highway system.
“Modernizing 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,” said the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The plan’s title is the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program. It is part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last November.
The Federal Highway Administration will administer the Program. $26.5 billion of the funds will be distributed over five years to states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A total of $825 million will be distributed to Native American tribes over five years.
The decision of specific bridges to improve will be left to individual states. According to the Program’s 2022 funding plan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, and New York will receive the most financing, with Texas set to receive nearly $107.5 million this fiscal year.
The announcement comes as President Biden is scheduled to speak about the continuing implementation of the infrastructure bill. In advance of his press appearance, the White House released a fact sheet detailing how the infrastructure funds have been or will be distributed.
The fact sheet notes the plan to build 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles and an approximately $56 billion plan to improve highways, airports, and shipping ports. It also notes a program to distribute $7.4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes, and service lines.
The fact sheet also highlights programs that will make broadband internet more affordable and help people in rural areas access high-speed internet, among other initiatives.