Transportation reauthorization bill amendment would give states flexibility in funding bridge projects

Updated Jun 5, 2015

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) has put forth an amendment to a transportation reauthorization bill currently before the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works that would make “local bridge projects eligible for federal funding through the National Highway Performance Program.”

Gillibrand’s amendment would not create additional funds, but would instead “redirect existing dollars to restore bridge funding and ensure that local governments have the flexibility to determine which projects receive investment.”

Direct funding to states and local governments for bridge projects was eliminated in as part of a bill passed in 2012.

“As hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers get ready to take to the roads f or summer vacations, more than a third of our state’s bridges are in need of repair but bureaucratic federal policy actually prevents our local governments from investing in their repair, Gillibrand said in a statement.

“My amendment will finally give states the flexibility to spend federal transportation dollars where they’re needed most, including thousands of locally owned bridges across the state. This is among my priorities for the federal transportation bill we’ll pass this year, and I will continue to fight to ensure that New York receives the resources it needs to maintain and improve our critical infrastructure.”

There are in 2.016 structurally deficient bridges, and 4,735 functionally obsolete bridges in New York State.