Last week the US Department of Transportation launched an initiative known as the “Bridge Formula Program,” which aims to be the most extensive repair and restoration project on United States bridges since the 1950s. With $26.5 billion to spend over five years, plus an additional $825 million for tribal transportation, this will be a massive undertaking projected to create many construction jobs—if there are laborers available to take them.
Every state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, has bridges listed as needing repair or replacement. The biggest targets will be Iowa (with 4,751 bridges), Illinois (2,374 bridges), Missouri (2,190 bridges), New York (1,702 bridges), and Louisiana (1,634 bridges).
“Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said: “Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first responders, or trucks carrying freight.”
Even as funds become available, projects move forward. Many of these rebuilds have been planned for years.
But the head economist at the Association of Builders and Contractors says not to expect too much too fast. “Construction companies are already stretched thin, and labor is at a premium. Some of these projects—even those that are first in line—are going to have to wait their turn as builders work through their backlog of projects.”