On September 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration opened applications for nearly $10 billion in funding for fiscal years 2023-2026 through the competitive Bridge Investment Program’s “Large Bridge Project” category, which funds projects larger than $100 million.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is rebuilding bridges across the country – restoring lifelines for communities and commerce,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Through the Investing in America agenda, we are ensuring that we upgrade our bridge infrastructure – no matter whether it is owned by the largest state, or the smallest county – to meet today’s needs and challenges.”
The Bridge Investment Program was established by President Joe Biden‘s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which makes the single largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the Interstate highway system: a total of $40 billion over five years to help ensure that some of the nation’s most important bridges remain safe and operational, meet current and future traveler needs, support local economies, strengthen our supply chains, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
“Bridges are more than steel and concrete—they connect communities, move vital goods, and make it easier to go about our daily lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“These grants will help communities across the country modernize their bridges, and make it easier for everyone to move quickly, reliably, and safely to their destinations,” he added.
Key updates to these new Bridge Investment Program – Large Bridge Project competitive grants include:
- Accepting applications for FY2023-FY2026, creating the opportunity for applicants to compete for funding for all four fiscal years with a single application.
- Updated merit criteria to provide more direction to applicants, as well as an updated “smart application” template that FHWA highly encourages applicants to use to assist applicants in filling out the application.
- A new Benefit Cost Analysis tool to assist applicants in completing required project analysis.
- An optional initial eligibility screening to provide applicants whose submission is determined to be incomplete or ineligible the opportunity to submit an amended application.
In Fiscal Year 2022, the Bridge Investment Program invested $2.4 billion in 37 bridge projects in 29 states across the country, including:
- $1.385 billion to rehabilitate and reconfigure the existing Brent Spence Bridge to improve interstate and local traffic flow between the interconnected Kentucky and Ohio communities on either side of the Ohio River.
- $144 million to rehabilitate four bridges over the Calumet River on the Southside of Chicago, providing continuous and safe access for marine traffic to and from the Lake Calumet Port District and surrounding industry.
- $73 million to replace the 85-year-old, bascule-style Lafayette Avenue Bridge over the Saginaw River — an important link in the transportation network for Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region that an estimated 16,000 vehicles cross every day.
- $51.2 million to replace six bridges in South Carolina that range from 68 to 101 years old and serve multiple communities that heavily rely on them to travel to work and school, as well as to transport goods across the state and region.
- $15.1 million to replace six off-system bridges along the John Nolen Drive Causeway, which is a major artery that travels across Lake Monona and into downtown Madison, Wisconsin and are used by 45,000 vehicles every day.
- A number of large bridges also received planning grants, including the Cape Cod Bridges in Massachusetts and the I-5 Columbia River Crossing connecting Washington and Oregon.
The Bridge Investment Program is a competitive, discretionary grant program that creates opportunity for all levels of government to be direct recipients of program funds. It focuses on the replacement, rehabilitation, preservation and protection of existing bridges across the country.
While this funding opportunity is solely for bridge projects larger than $100 million, FHWA will soon open applications for bridge projects up to $100 million.
This upcoming funding opportunity will also help create a pipeline of future projects through smaller dollar grants that help communities advance bridge projects through the planning process.
The FHWA plans to conduct extensive community outreach and public engagement throughout the application process.
Photo of Key Bridge (which does not need renovation or replacement) connecting Arlington, Virginia to Washington, DC is by Storm Cunningham.