“Ride the Drive” on John Nolen Drive in Madison | Photo courtesy City of Madison Parks Department
The Biden administration will allocate $295 million in federal funding to repair or replace nine bridges across the country, including in Michigan, Oregon, Wisconsin and Virginia, the Federal Highway Administration said Thursday.
The funding comes from the 2021 infrastructure law and the bridges were selected as part of a competitive grant program for bridge projects of less than $100 million.
The projects include:
- Replacement of the Lafayette Bascule Bridge over the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan. The federal government will provide $73 million to replace the 85-year-old bridge.
- Rehabilitation of the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge spanning the Potomac River between Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. The $72 million in federal funding will go to the D.C. Department of Transportation to repair the northbound lanes of Interstate 395 that carries 88,000 vehicles per day from Arlington, Virginia, to Washington.
- Replacement of six bridges on John Nolen Drive Causeway in Madison, Wisconsin. The federal share for that project is $15.1 million. The bridges carry traffic into downtown Madison.
- Replacement of a 93-year-old viaduct over railroad tracks in Portland, Oregon. The federal government will provide $13.9 million to rebuild a bridge that carries about 8,000 vehicles per day in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood.
The administration also announced projects in California, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas would receive funding.
Thursday’s announcement brings total spending through the grant program to $2.4 billion. The program, created in the infrastructure law, will spend a total of $12.5 billion over five years.
The infrastructure law also created a $27.5 billion Bridge Formula Program that disburses funding to states without requiring grant proposals.
A senior administration official who briefed reporters Wednesday on background said the infrastructure law represented the largest federal investment in bridges since President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration in the 1950s.
Bridge failures or closures for repairs have major negative impacts for communities, costing commuters time and local businesses money, as well as hampering first responders, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
“The grant awards we’re announcing today are helping communities of all sizes modernize their bridges so that school buses, delivery trucks, ambulances, and commuters can get where they need to go quickly and safely,” Buttigieg said.
Thursday’s announcement, which included a scheduled appearance by Vice President Kamala Harris at the Potomac River bridge, capped the administration’s weeks-long promotion of federal infrastructure and manufacturing spending that White House officials say has spurred job creation.
Laws the administration has promoted — including the infrastructure law, a bipartisan law to boost semiconductor manufacturing and Democrats’ 2022 climate and taxes law and 2021 COVID-19 recovery law — have led to $435 billion in private sector spending, creating over 12 million jobs, according to the White House.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said the economy added 236,000 jobs in March, lowering the unemployment rate to 3.5%.
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