Biden administration touts ‘historic investment’ in bridges through bipartisan infrastructure law

President Biden on Friday announced that his administration is releasing its first year of funding – more than $5 billion – to states to “repair and rebuild bridges” across the nation. 

The president’s announcement came as he delivered remarks on his administration’s efforts over the last two months since he signed the bipartisan infrastructure package into law. The president said that when the United States invests in infrastructure, it is “really investing in opportunity.” 

BIDEN SIGNS INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

The president said the law provides the country’s “largest investment” in bridges since the creation of the interstate highway system.

On Friday, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration launched the “Bridge Formula Program,” which Biden administration officials describe as a “historic investment” in bridges, made possible by the infrastructure law. 

President Biden speaks about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik / AP Newsroom)

Under the program, all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico will receive $26.5 billion over the next five years, and another $825 million to revive old bridges. Officials said the money is critical to updating the 43,000 bridges across the nation that are in poor condition. 

The program also will distribute $5.3 billion to states, D.C. and Puerto Rico for the current federal fiscal year, along with $165 million for tribes. 

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Officials said the program is expected to improve as many as 15,000 highway bridges, in addition to providing funds for states to “replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect and construct” bridges. 

“Bridges to connect us, bridges to make America work across our country right now, there are 45,000 bridges, 45,000 that are important,” the president said. “My infrastructure law includes a total of $40 billion in funding for bridge improvements.” 

Construction workers work in Wheeling, Ill., Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The president said that $12.5 billion of the $40 billion will go toward replacing some of “the most economically significant bridges in the country.” 

The president said that on Friday, his administration was releasing the first year of the program in investing in bridges, directing $5.5 billion to stats to try to “repair and rebuild” them to “make them safer and more usable.” 

“This is an investment,” he said. “It’s going to help connect entire towns and regions to new opportunities.” 

“With this investment, we’re sending a message to those communities and the people that call them home,” Biden continued. “You matter. We’re building back and building back better with you. We are making sure you’re not left behind and left out alone.” 

The president added that the infrastructure law’s investments are “consequential.” 

Biden union

Biden waits to speak about the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better agenda after touring the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Michigan, on Oct. 5, 2021.  (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP / Getty Images)

“We’re just getting started rebuilding back better than ever before,” he said. “Clean water for every American – we’ve never done that before. Now we’re going to do it. High speed internet for every American, we’ve never done that before, now we are connecting forgotten communities; capping wells that are dangerous; strengthening our power grid to make it more resilient to extreme weather changes.” 

He added: “These are investments our country has never fully made. Now we are.”

Senior officials also outlined other points of progress the Biden administration has made. 

As for airports, the Federal Aviation administration announced $3 billion for 3,000 airports across the nation to upgrade critical infrastructure and modernize airports to be “safer, more sustainable and more reliable,” officials said. 

For highways, officials said the Federal Highway Administration announced $52.5 billion in federal highway funding for fiscal year 2022 – a figure officials called “the largest in decades.” Officials also pointed to an additional $260 million for highway safety programs to reduce traffic crashes. 

For water, the Environmental Protection Agency announced $7.4 billion in funding for states to upgrade aging water infrastructure, sewer systems, pipes and service lines. 

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The administration has also dedicated $240 million to improve ports and supply chains across the nation. 

Meanwhile, the president touted the bipartisan nature of the infrastructure law, saying “there’s nothing beyond our capacity when we work together.” 

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“When we get this done, we’ll get back to beating the world again,” Biden said. “We’ll once again be number one in the world instead of where we sit now – at No. 13 – in terms of the quality of our infrastructure.” 

“That’s going to mean more jobs, good paying jobs, safer communities, lower cost,” Biden said. “We can do this.”  

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