This week, U.S. Representatives Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana) introduced the Fixing America's Bridges Act, which would help many municipalities in financial need to repair and replace structurally deficient local bridges.
If signed into law, the legislation would reestablish the federal Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation program, which would reward federal grant money to states for the repair or replacement of poor-condition bridges. The bill includes a set-aside to in order to provide certain communities with funding for locally owned bridges not included in the federal-aid highway system. The bill also increases the federal cost-share for local bridges from 80% to 90% so communities can act quickly to make much-needed repairs to their deficient bridges.
“Having visited many of our local structurally deficient bridges, I know first-hand how big of an impact we can make by securing much-needed help for our communities,” Congresswoman Finkenauer said in a statement. “Our local engineers and communities are sending us a clear message they need help, and we can do that while making our infrastructure safer and supporting good paying American jobs.”
The congresswoman's home state of Iowa is home to 5,067 structurally deficient bridges, which is more than any other state. That number makes up nearly 20% of all Iowan bridges, most of which are locally owned and do not receive the same federal funding that goes to bridges that are part of the federal highway system.
“Investing in safe and reliable infrastructure promotes economic growth and benefits our communities. This certainly includes America’s bridges,” Congressman Higgins said in a statement. “Our legislation expands federal infrastructure resources and prioritizes bridge replacement based on structural integrity. Reestablishing the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program would greatly benefit many bridges in Louisiana, including the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge.”
The Fixing America’s Bridges Act is supported by several associations and municipal leaders.