Biden Touts Bridge Money in Infrastructure Bill as Agenda Stalls
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden announced more than $5 billion will be distributed to repair or replace bridges across the U.S. for the coming year, part of infrastructure legislation passed by Congress in November.
Biden said it’s the largest investment in bridges since the creation of the interstate highway system, a project that was kicked off with legislation signed in 1956.
Biden sought to remind voters of his legislative victory on infrastructure and pivot away from a string of recent disappointments, including the likely collapse of voting rights legislation, inflation reaching a 40-year high and the U.S. Supreme Court blocking his workplace vaccine mandate.
“There’s a lot of talk about disappointment in things we haven’t gotten done,” Biden said Friday at the White House. “We’re going to get a lot of them done, I might add. But this is something we did get done. And it’s of enormous consequence to the country.”
Biden said failing bridges cause delays for drivers, first responders and farmers who struggle to get products to market.
The bridge funds, $5.3 billion for states and $165 million for tribes in the 2022 fiscal year, are part of $550 billion in fresh spending that also includes roads, public transit and other projects in coming years.
Biden recounted other uses of infrastructure plan funds, including environmental cleanup, high-speed internet and power grid upgrades. “These investments are consequential,” he said. “We’re just getting started.”
The bridge money will be paid out through formulas by the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection and Construction Program. The overall program will provide $26.5 billion to states and $825 million for tribal transportation facilities for bridge projects over the next five years.
States and localities determine which projects will get completed with funding from the legislation.
The White House said the bridge program is expected to help replace or repair approximately 15,000 highway bridges. The largest amount of money will go to California, which will receive $849.4 million in the current fiscal year and $4.2 billion over the five years that are covered by the infrastructure law.
New York has the second highest state total. It will receive $378.4 million this year and $1.9 billion over the five year period.
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