- The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2022

President Biden on Friday announced that his administration will distribute $27 billion to repair or replace 15,000 bridges across the country.

The funds will be doled out as part of the bipartisan infrastructure spending Mr. Biden signed into law in November.

He said the funds were the largest investment in our nation’s bridges since the creation of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

“This is an investment that is going to help connect entire towns and regions to new opportunities,” Mr. Biden said at the White House “With this investment, we’re sending a message to those communities and the people who call them home: You matter.”

The Department of Transportation will distribute the money through the launch of the Bridge Replacement Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program.

The repairs will also improve bridge resiliency against climate change, according to the White House.

Mr. Biden said the funding will help pay to repair so-called “off-system” bridges, which are locally owned and not part of the federal highway system.

“These are the bridges that are often overlooked when decisions are being made, but they are essential for small towns, rural towns, farmers to get their products to market, small businesses to be able to serve customers,” he said. “These are the bridges that when they are closed shut off deliveries and routes to schools, work, and home.”

The funds will be allocated on a needs-based formula, leaving the states to decide which bridges will be repaired. While the funds will be released immediately, states will also learn their funding totals for the next five years of the program so they can plan ahead, a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call.

Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and New York are among the states that will receive the most funds, according to a White House fact sheet.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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