President Biden will announce funding to rebuild some of the nation’s most economically significant bridges, during visit to Covington, Kentucky
The President’s economic plan is proving that when America invests in ourselves – especially in our infrastructure, clean energy, and high-growth industries that are critical to our economic and national security – we can build a bottom-up and middle-out economy. That means an economy with better jobs and better pay, including jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. And it means a more dynamic and more resilient economy, including in communities that are too often forgotten.
Today, during a visit to Brent Spence Bridge in Covington, Kentucky, the President will announce the latest example of how his economic plan is delivering for American families and American communities: more than $2 billion in investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade some of our nation’s most economically significant bridges. To mark this announcement:
- The President is visiting Brent Spence Bridge connecting Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, where he will be joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Sherrod Brown, former Senator Rob Portman, Governor Andy Beshear, and Governor Mike DeWine.
- The Vice President is visiting the bridges crossing the Calumet River in Chicago, Illinois.
- Secretary Buttigieg is visiting the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London, Connecticut.
- White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, where he will join Speaker Pelosi.
These major bridge investments are a symbol that we can still do big things when we do them together.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $40 billion to repair and rebuild the nation’s bridges – the single largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the Eisenhower-era Interstate Highway System. It will help repair or rebuild ten of the most economically significant bridges in the country along with over 15,000 additional bridges nationwide. The vast majority of the projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are covered by Davis-Bacon requirements, meaning the construction workers who build the projects will receive good pay and benefits.
Bridges represent more than just their physical structures—they connect people and communities and make it easier to go about our daily lives. In addition to getting people where they need to go, bridges are critical to ensuring the nation’s commerce can flow freely, getting goods from ships to shelves quickly, reliably, and safely to their destinations. Modern bridges are critical for first responders to get to calls more quickly, more reliable shipments for businesses, and less expensive goods for families. Approximately 43,000 bridges nationwide are currently rated in poor condition, which could include requiring weight restrictions and closures of bridges large and small.
Today’s announcement of the first year of Large Bridge Project Grants from the infrastructure law’s Bridge Investment Program are for bridges with a total cost of more than $100 million. The four economically-significant bridges include:
- In Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky, grant funds will upgrade the existing Brent Spence Bridge and build a new bridge dedicated to interstate drivers to improve traffic along I-71/I-75, a critical freight route from Canada to Florida.
- In Chicago, Illinois, grant funds will help rehabilitate four moveable bridges crossing the Calumet River that are critical for marine traffic to and from the Illinois International Port and surrounding industry.
- In New London, Connecticut, grant funds will rebuild the northbound structure of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge which brings I-95 over the Thames River, a vital connection on the I-95 corridor for people and goods traveling between New York and New England.
- In San Francisco, grant funds will replace, retrofit and install critical structural elements on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to increase resiliency against earthquakes. The Golden Gate Bridge is vital to an estimated 37 million vehicles crossing the bridge per year, including 555,000 freight trucks, as well as waterborne commerce through the Golden Gate Strait connected to the Port of Oakland.
Across the country, the President’s economic plan is leading to billions of dollars in private sector investment. Communities across Kentucky and Ohio that were hollowed out due to outsourcing are once again regaining manufacturing jobs – including in new industries of the future like clean energy and the digital economy – and seeing major investments in infrastructure. For example:
- BlueOval SK Battery Park: Last month in Glendale, Kentucky, Ford and SK On broke ground on a $5.8 billion battery manufacturing campus that will power the next generation of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles. The battery park will create 5,000 jobs and partner with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to train local workers for the jobs of the future.
- Ascend Elements: In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Ascend Elements is building a $1 billion facility to produce battery materials from recycled lithium-ion batteries, aided by $480 million in funding from the Department of Energy. Ascend will produce enough material to power 250,000 electric vehicles annually, helping break dependence on China for critical materials and strengthen U.S. supply chains.
- Intel: In September, President Biden and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger broke ground on a $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing campus outside Columbus, Ohio. Intel’s investment will create 10,000 good-paying jobs in construction and manufacturing, and strengthen U.S. supply chains for the critical chips that power everything from automobiles to household appliances to defense systems.
- Ford: Ford announced a $1.8 billion investment in its Avon Lake, Ohio, Assembly Plant, creating 1,800 new United Auto Worker jobs manufacturing a new electric commercial vehicle.
To help workers across Ohio prepare for good-paying manufacturing jobs in the industries of the future, the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration awarded a $23.5 million grant through the Good Jobs Challenge to the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association to partner with more than 1,000 manufacturing employers to place 6,000 workers in a new job or an upskilling opportunity at their current employer.
Bridge Funding Overview – Additional Background
In addition to the four FY22 Large Bridge Project Grants, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also announced an additional Bridge Planning grant to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance critical planning work in support of replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges over the Cape Cod Canal. In October 2022, FHWA awarded nearly $20 million in planning grants to support 23 projects, including the I-5 Columbia River Crossing connecting Washington and Oregon and 18 bridges located over electrified rail lines primarily operated by Amtrak and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia. These planning grants help create a pipeline of shovel-worthy projects that could then later be eligible to apply for a construction grant through a range of competitive grant programs where bridge projects are eligible. DOT will announce additional Bridge Investment Program construction grants for bridge projects under $100 million later this year. In total, the Bridge Investment Program will fund $12.5 billion in planning and construction projects over five years, and will support at least one project in every state.
Other DOT programs funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have also made significant investments in bridge repair and replacement. Beyond the Bridge Investment Program awards announced today, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced over $11 billion to upgrade the nation’s bridges:
- The Federal Highway Administration announced nearly $11 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023 Bridge Formula Program allocations from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To date, states have begun work on more than 2800 bridges nationwide using first year funding. This includes the I-270 bridge replacement over the Mississippi River in Illinois, the Dare County bridge replacement in North Carolina, and the I-65 bridge replacement over the Sepulga River in Alabama. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct the new Bridge Formula Program funds to smaller bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency. These “off-system” bridges tend to be in worse condition than bridges on the Interstate or other major roads. While states generally must match federal funding with up to 20 percent state or local funding, federal funds can be used for 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.
- The separate Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program has funded over $200 million of projects in 21 States, including resilience improvements to the I-20 Wateree River Bridge in South Carolina to upgrade critical elements of the bridge and raising the elevation of Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1) to make it more resilient to flooding during extreme weather events across the Gulf of Mexico.
- The INFRA program funded four major bridge projects in its first year. The I-39/90/94 Wisconsin River Bridges Project in Columbia County, Wisconsin, will build two new bridge spans for a route that links economic hubs in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The I-90 Austin Bridges Improvement Project in Austin, Minnesota, will reconstruct eight bridges (five overhead structures, two mainline bridges, and one pedestrian bridge) and rehabilitate two mainline bridges along I-90. In Cincinnati, Ohio, the Western Hills Viaduct Replacement will replace the 85-year old structurally deficient Western Hills Viaduct over the Mill Creek Valley with a new structure south of the existing viaduct, which will connect to a redesigned interchange with I-75. A part of the overall Brent Spence corridor improvement, the project will allow for reliable and efficient freight movement by road and rail, as the increased spacing of supports will allow for rail realignment and provide a new access point to the CSX intermodal facility. Innovative technology will be used on the project, including PV light fixtures, carbon-absorbing surface treatments, and ecofriendly materials. The Newport Pell Bridge Rehabilitation Project in Rhode Island will rehabilitate the 4-lane suspension bridge that carries Route 138 over the Narragansett Bay, connecting Jamestown and Newport along a critical urban freight corridor and a major tourism destination.
- The RAISE program also invests in bridge projects. For example, in Tucson, AZ, the 22nd Street Corridor improvement will replace an existing bridge in poor condition with a new bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) that will allow for Class I railroads to expand freight service and remove a freight bottleneck. In Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, North Carolina, USDOT is helping to reconstruct approximately 28 bridges across rural, western North Carolina counties. By replacing low water bridges and fixing bridges with posted weight restrictions, emergency vehicles, school buses, agricultural vehicles, freight vehicles, and trucks carrying heavy equipment can traverse them more efficiently and reliably. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Wilcox Boulevard bridge replacement will accommodate freight trucks to allow for the safe and efficient movement of goods to market.
- The new Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program in the law funded the Niagara County Rural Bridge Improvement Initiative in Niagara County, New York. The project will rehabilitate the Hartland Road Bridge over Golden Hill Creek which is over 70 years old and has not had any major rehabilitation work in over 30 years. The rehabilitated bridge will support Niagara County’s agricultural economy.
In early 2023, additional bridge and supply chain investments are expected from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s MEGA program (aka Nationally Significant Infrastructure), along with awards for the Bridge Investment Program’s allocation for bridge projects under $100 million.