The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday (Jan. 14) that $5.3 billion will be invested in U.S. highway bridges in 2022 as the first tranche of bridge funding from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Overall, more than $27 billion will be spent to repair about 15,000 bridges nationwide.
In Arkansas, the law will provide $278.7 million to fix about 663 bridges in poor condition and to preserve and improve nearly 6,000 bridges in fair condition in the state.
The U.S. Department of Transportation launched Friday the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection and Construction Program, or Bridge Formula Program, which was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program will be administered by the Federal Highway Administration.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – in rural, suburban, city and tribal communities.”
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said the program will help to “modernize bridges to withstand the effects of climate change and to make them safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first responders or trucks carrying freight.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct money from the Bridge Formula Program to off-system bridges owned by counties, cities, towns or other area agencies. Federal money can be used for 100% of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such off-system bridges.
All six members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation voted against the infrastructure bill.