The Federal Highway Administration will distribute $26.5 billion to upgrade bridges in states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years under the law.
“Communities are impacted, businesses are impacted when bridges fall into poor condition, and lives are impacted from these delays and detours becoming a real cost,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters. “And now we have the resources that we can share with our states to address those costs by investing in our communities and their bridges.”
Related: How will Florida spend the billions Congress approved for infrastructure?Money is intended for repairs and improvements
The official said that the money is the largest effort to fix bridges since the Interstate Highway System was built in 1956.
The state has 408 bridges in poor condition, according to the agency’s 2020 National Bridge Inventory report. Florida will receive $49 million in federal aid to replace and preserve bridges during the 2022 federal fiscal year, which lasts through September.
The money for repairing bridges is part of a larger $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure signed into law by Biden in November and backed by a bipartisan coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
The funding is designed primarily to fix bridges rather than build new ones, White House officials say, though it can be used to make bridges more accessible to bicyclists or pedestrians. The funding can also be directed to locally owned bridges, with the federal government picking up all of the cost.
“This is not just a today, or next week, or next year investment,” said a senior administration official. “It’s really five years of funding that we know will be invested over many years.”
Florida has fewer bridges in poor condition than other large states. California and New York, for example, both have more than 1,500 bridges in poor condition. Pennsylvania leads all states with 3,353 bridges in poor condition and is set to receive more than $1.6 billion under the program, according to the Department of Transportation data.
The president and members of Congress have hailed the infrastructure investment as a badly needed source of funding to rebuild the country’s dilapidated physical infrastructure, after previous presidents and lawmakers had tried — and failed — for years to pass similar legislation. More funding for more projects still to come
In addition to bridges, the law is designed to rebuild roads, upgrade the electrical grid, expand broadband internet access and replace old water pipes, among other initiatives. Get insights into Florida politics
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