Senate OKs $1 billion more for bridges

| 9/14/2007

The U.S. Senate approved an amendment to split an additional $1 billion among states to fund bridge repairs and replacement.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, was part of a larger appropriations package OK’d Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The tragic collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge Aug. 1 in Minneapolis has prompted several legislative actions of late, including Murray’s.

“Increasing traffic has put added stress on a system that simply wasn’t designed for it and, as a result, our bridges are deteriorating far faster than we can finance their replacement,” Murray stated in a speech to the Senate.

The measure adds $1 billion – or about 20 percent – to a Federal Highway Administration program to provide grants to states for bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preventative maintenance, seismic retrofitting, inspections and activities designed to extend bridge life spans.

Murray said the additional funding remains within the government’s budget allocations.

The government has spent an average of $5.3 billion on bridge rehabilitation and replacement each of the past five years, Murray stated.

– By David Tanner, staff writer