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New Jersey to Receive $1.14B in Federal Funding to Fix Bridges

A truck drives over the Sixth Avenue Bridge over the Passaic River in Paterson.New Jersey will receive $1.14 billion over five years through a new federal funding program, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday.

The Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, and Construction Program, or Bridge Formula Program, is one of several new funding initiatives approved as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November.

“Much of our region’s infrastructure is old and subject to heavy daily wear and tear,” said Passaic County Commissioner John W. Bartlett, Chair of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. “These funds will help North Jersey and the rest of the state repair and replace more bridges, making travel safer and more efficient overall. The NJTPA looks forward to working with the state to make sure these federal dollars are put to good use.”

The program, administered by the Federal Highway Administration, aims to repair about 15,000 highway bridges nationwide that are in poor condition. New Jersey has 502 bridges in poor condition. The program provides $5.3 billion in the current fiscal year, including $229.4 million for New Jersey, and $26.5 billion total over five years.

In addition to funding highway bridges, the program dedicates money to “off-system” bridges, which are locally owned and not part of the federal-aid highway system. To incentivize states to use the funding for local bridges, the federal government is offering to cover 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating the spans. Typically, the state or local governments must pay up to 20 percent of the cost.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate highway system,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “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.”

The NJTPA’s Long Range Transportation Plan, Plan 2050: Transportation. People. Opportunity., takes a “fix it first” approach, prioritizing funding to address the backlog of needed road and bridge improvements and preparing infrastructure for climate change impacts. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) owns 1,851 bridges in the NJTPA’s 13-county region, with 179 deemed in poor condition or structurally deficient, according to NJDOT Bridge Management System 2019 data. There are also 2,017 county-owned bridges in the NJTPA region with 138 deemed in poor condition or structurally deficient.

“This record amount of funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow states and Tribal governments to fix the bridges most in need of repair,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in a statement. “It will also modernize bridges to withstand the effects of climate change and to make them safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. 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.”

Posted: 1/14/2022 3:05:26 PM by Melissa Hayes | with 0 comments