Senate passes bridge-prioritizing amendment to DOT, HUD spending bill

U.S. Capitol

The Senate on Wednesday passed an amendment to its proposed $54 billion transportation and housing spending bill, prioritizing bridge projects, according to a report from The Hill.

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) authored the amendment, which he said would prioritize bridges deemed “structurally obsolete” or “deficient,” allowing those bridges to be fixed before others.

“We all know that the federal government’s highway trust fund dollars are stretched very thin, and not enough is reaching the core infrastructure needs. … We’ve got to be very careful and resourceful on how we spend those funds,” Portman said of his amendment prior to the Senate’s vote.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee that handled the spending bill for the departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said the bill allocates $500 million for bridge repairs.

The amendment comes one day after the White House released a statement that it “strongly supports” the THUD bill the Senate is considering, which allots $9.9 billion higher than the House’s proposed spending bill.

Following on the Senate’s announcement that it would consider the bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday morning he wants to “wrap this bill up” in 24 hours.