Additional $12.5 Billion Dose of Historic Bridge Funding on the Way

In January, the Biden administration announced the largest single investment in bridges in 50 years in an effort to reduce the country’s number of bridges rated in poor condition.

Now, on top of that announcement of $26.5 billion, the administration is rolling out another $12.5 billion over five years for the new Bridge Investment Program.

The money is all part of the $1 trillion infrastructure law and is dedicated to help plan, replace, rehabilitate, protect and preserve the nation’s bridges, according to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

The FHWA says its goal is to reduce the number of bridges in poor condition, or those in fair condition and at risk of declining into poor condition.

“Fair” is defined by the FHWA as ranging from some minor deterioration to minor section loss and damage. “Poor” is defined as having advanced deterioration to failed condition.

{Related Content: For more details on bridge ratings and how the states rank in bridge conditions, check out Equipment World’s “Which States Have the Best and Worst Bridge Ratings?”}

The first announcement of $26.5 billion in January is also spread over five years and seeks to repair or replace 15,000 of the nation’s largest bridges. It is funded by a formula in which states are to receive a designated portion each year.

The newly announced $12.5 billion program awards funding on a discretionary basis through a competitive application process. It also will give money for large projects, but will fund smaller bridges as well and give local communities a chance at the grants. It offers two types of construction grants, one for projects over $100 million and for those under $100 million. About $2.4 billion of the money is available this fiscal year.

The grants can be awarded under multi-year agreements for the projects over $100 million, so they can be funded through preconstruction work and construction. The program also offers grants for feasibility studies for projects that could be eligible later for the competitive bridge program.

“These funds will make a significant contribution to improving the condition of our nation’s aging bridges, both large signature bridge projects that are important for our national economy as well as smaller structures that provide benefits at the regional and local levels and are critical for communities across the country,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “FHWA has designed this program to meet the needs of communities and bridges of all sizes, including those that are still in the planning stage.”

The FHWA says it is now accepting applications for the program. The Notice of Funding Opportunity is available at FHWA’s Bridge Investment Program.

With the overall total announced bridge investment now at about $40 billion, it represents the largest single expenditure on bridges since the national highway system was created, according to the FHWA. The FHWA plans to conduct public outreach throughout the application process and offer technical assistance to grant recipients, the agency says.