July 24, 2013

Portman Amendment To Ensure Endangered Bridges Are Focus of New Federal Bridge Funding Passes Senate

Amendment will prioritize funding for bridges with critical problems, such as Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) amendment (SA 1749, as modified) to make bridges like Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio that have been classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as "functionally obsolete" or "structurally deficient" the focus of new federal bridge funding passed the Senate and was incorporated to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

“We need to ensure that endangered bridges like Brent Spence get the adequate funding they need to keep our communities safe,” said Portman.  “By ensuring that endangered bridges along our National Highway System receive priority access to the funds in the ‘Bridges in Critical Corridors’ section of this legislation, adoption of this amendment is a step in the right direction to ensuring that these bridges’ critical problems are adequately addressed.”

The THUD Appropriations bill contains a $500 million “Bridges in Critical Corridors” fund.  Senate Amendment 1749, as modified, will ensure that bridges on our nation’s highways classified by FHWA as “functionally obsolete” or “structurally deficient” receive priority consideration under the "Bridges in Critical Corridors" fund.  This helps focus the funding where it is needed most and will narrow the number of bridges that qualify for priority funding by 75 percent.  Bridges in all 50 states qualify for priority consideration under this amendment.  Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) cosponsored Senator Portman’s amendment.