Blunt, Casey introduce bipartisan legislation to maintain rural bridges
Almost half of the nation’s bridges are not on the federal highway system and often cannot qualify for federal funds
On Tuesday, June 8, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) announced that they have introduced the Support for Community Bridges Act. The bipartisan bill would allocate more dedicated funds for bridge repair to states with more off-system bridges in poor condition. Off-system bridges are not on the federal highway system and are often left out of federal support, putting further strain on local budgets. Approximately 58% of Missouri’s 24,500 bridges are off-system, and many of these bridges are located in rural areas.
“Repairing and upgrading our transportation network is especially important here in Missouri, where location is one of our biggest competitive advantages,” said Blunt. “I’m proud to join Senator Casey in introducing this bill to provide much-needed support to off-system bridges throughout Missouri, especially in our rural communities. This bill will ensure state and local governments get additional resources to modernize their infrastructure and create a stronger foundation for economic growth.”
“The safety and quality of our Nation’s roads and bridges is paramount, which is why Senator Blunt and I are committed to ensuring dedicated federal set-aside funding to repair off-system bridges,” said Casey. “This legislation will provide a much-needed funding increase for bridge maintenance and help local governments get back on their feet after the financial challenges of the pandemic.”
Based on last year’s funding levels, off-system bridges would receive roughly $1.2 billion under this proposal, up from roughly $776 million, which comes from a combination of highway trust fund and general treasury funds that go to the highway aid program through congressional appropriations. As federal investment in infrastructure increases, so would the amount for off-system bridges.