Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced the National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act, which prioritizes funding for bridge improvements to ensure safety and address America’s deficiencies in bridge infrastructure.
The National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act creates a grant program for bridge improvements, replacements or repairs. Given state or local financial commitment to the project, the federal government will contribute as well.
In Minnesota alone, an estimated 1.5 million crossings over structurally deficient bridges happen every day. Nationwide, 80 percent of these bridges are in rural areas. According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, over one third of America’s bridges are structurally deficient. The Federal Highway Administration classifies more than half the nation’s bridges at less than good condition.
The National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act prioritizes existing funding to help achieve the U.S. Department of Transportation’s stated goal of eliminating the backlog of bridge projects by 2032.
"Roads and bridges are the essential components of our infrastructure. In the land of 10,000 lakes, bridges connect our communities and ease our commutes. In 2007, a bridge collapsed in my home state, in the heart of the Twin Cities. We lost 13 Minnesotans and another 145 were injured. This tragedy happened in a thriving metropolitan area. We rebuilt and recovered, but we still must ensure this never happens again.” said Emmer.
“Cities across our nation have dangerous bridge crossings, and our rural areas face even more pronounced infrastructure challenges. Over a decade after the collapse of the I35W bridge our nation still has far too many bridges with structural deficiencies, and not enough is being done to address these serious safety concerns. I am proud to introduce legislation that will prioritize bridge safety and rural infrastructure projects.” Emmer concluded.
Specifically, the National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act will establish the National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Program through the U.S. Department of Transportation for qualifying entities. State Departments of Transportation, counties, cities and localities are eligible. Qualifying projects must restore or increase the structural capacity of a bridge, make major safety improvements, or replace an existing bridge.
Read the National Bridge Replacement and Improvement Act here.