Bridge funding in infrastructure law on the way to states

Whitmer says Michigan will get $563M, the ‘biggest ever investment’ in bridges

By: and - January 14, 2022 4:02 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer examines a Highway 131 bridge in Grand Rapids, June 24, 2019 | Nick Manes

The federal government will begin releasing more than $5 billion for distressed bridges in the first year of funding under the recent infrastructure law, President Joe Biden said in a Friday video message.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state of Michigan is expected to receive $563.1 million over five years to build, repair or replace bridges. She said it is the “biggest ever investment” in Michigan’s bridges.

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Michigan is expected receive $563.1 million over five years to support thousands of good-paying jobs and build or fix hundreds of bridges,” said Whitmer. “I look forward to using these resources to put Michiganders first, improving countless commutes and keeping families safe on the road. We will work with our federal and local partners to invest this historic amount of resources into communities in every region of Michigan.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) expects to replace 24 bridges and help local road agencies repair 129 local bridges.

MDOT Director Paul Ajegba and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Andrew Roth

“The Michigan Department of Transportation welcomes this historic infusion of resources to back our efforts to repair, replace or rehabilitate Michigan’s bridges,” said MDOT Director Paul Ajegba. “We will collaborate with our local partners and stay focused on investing these resources where they are needed most, fixing bridges in critical condition in counties across Michigan. We have made meaningful progress over the last couple of years, and I look forward to so much more because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

In his message, Biden specifically mentioned the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky, the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington and the Blatnik Bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The law would provide money over the next five years to address bridges in need of repair and waive the requirement that states and local governments provide matching funds, Biden said.

The figure represents the largest spending on bridges since the Interstate Highway System was created, Biden said.

More than 45,000 bridges across the country are in poor condition, according to the Transportation Department.

The department lists $26.5 billion over five years for the bridge program.

The 2022 allotment, which the U.S. Transportation Department will begin to release Friday, is $5.3 billion.

Biden emphasized funding for smaller bridges off the Interstate system.

Those off-network bridges account for about two-thirds of the total in need of repair, he said.

“These bridges are often overlooked when decisions are being made, but they are essential,” he said. “We’re sending the message to these communities that you matter. We’re making sure that you’re not left behind and left out.”

Nearly one-third of the bridge funding, $12.5 billion, will go toward repairing and replacing “the most economically significant bridges in the country,” Biden said — specifying the Ohio-Kentucky, Oregon-Washington and Minnesota-Wisconsin bridges.

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Jacob Fischler
Jacob Fischler

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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