Langevin Introduces Bill to Invest $2.75 Billion in Fixing Structurally Deficient Bridges, Creating Jobs

May 16, 2017 Issues: Transportation

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today introduced the Strengthen and Fortify Existing (SAFE) Bridges Act, a bill that would authorize an additional $2.75 billion annually to enable states to help repair or replace the more than 56,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. Langevin’s bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Angus King (D-ME).

“It is unacceptable that Rhode Island’s highway bridges are rated the worst in the nation. While the state has begun repair work, the federal government must do more to help,” Congressman Langevin said. “Using a needs-based formula, the SAFE Bridges Act will bring federal dollars where they’re needed most to repair structurally deficient bridges. This bill is an important contribution to what should be a bipartisan effort to rebuild our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

Funding provided under the bill would be proportional to a state’s share of the nation’s deficient bridges. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently reported that nearly ten percent of American bridges are structurally deficient, including one in four in Rhode Island. U.S. bridges face an estimated rehabilitation debt of $123 billion.

Langevin introduced the SAFE Bridges Act as a part of National Infrastructure Week, a week of education and advocacy with the goal of elevating infrastructure as a national priority to support job creation and economic growth. Congress must increase investments in America’s crumbling infrastructure, and this bill will bring renewed focus to our nation’s deficient bridges, which pose threats to motorists and to our freight network. For years, federal highway dollars had been set aside for bridge repair through specific programs; however, those funding streams were absorbed into general surface transportation funding. The SAFE Bridges Act will ensure that money is again dedicated specifically to the mission of repairing deficient bridges.