Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Passes Senate, Includes Bridge Repair Grant Bill

Legislation Originally Introduced in May by Portman Addresses Old and Outdated Bridges like Brent Spence Bridge

August 10, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that his bipartisan Bridge Investment Act has passed the Senate, as part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. This bill would establish a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog. It will also help us get closer to a solution on the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati by providing billions in available funding to go alongside a local match that can pay for a long-term solution to address the high volume of bridge traffic.

“Today the Senate took another important step towards finding a solution for the Brent Spence Bridge. I’m pleased that the Bridge Investment Act was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that has now passed the Senate, and it gives us hope that we are on a path to a solution for the Brent Spence Bridge,” said Portman.

The Bridge Investment Act provisions included in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act would:

  • Provide $12.5 billion to fund the Bridge Investment Act, which establishes a bridge investment program to award competitive grants to certain governmental entities for projects that improve the condition of bridges as well as the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridges;
  • Require strong Buy America rules, by requiring all projects funded by the grants to use American-made steel and iron;
  • Ensure that a transportation bill could rehabilitate or replace bridges of all sizes, including nationally significant large bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky;
  • Create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding;
  • Provide quick grants for small bridge projects and allow projects to be bundled into a single application to cut down on red tape and accelerate repairs;
  • Allow entities of all sizes and scope to apply for funding, including: states, counties, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts, public authorities with transportation functions, federal land management agencies and Indian tribes;

The bipartisan infrastructure legislation also includes a new formula grant program for states dedicated to providing further funding to our nation’s bridges. Over the next five years, this formula grant program will provide $27.5 billion over the next five years toward further rehabilitation, repair, and replacement of our nation’s bridges. For Ohio, the formula program will provide an additional $483 million over the next five years. A summary of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act can be found here.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found there are at least 46,154 bridges in the U.S. that are ‘structurally deficient’ and 231,000 still need repair and preservation work. In addition, a report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, estimates it would take nearly 40 years to repair the current backlog of ‘structurally deficient’ bridges in the U.S. at the current pace.