Pennsylvania Reps. Lamb, Fitzpatrick introduce bridge legislation

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U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced this week legislation to better fund repairs and maintenance of Pennsylvania’s off system bridges.

The Support for Community Bridges Act would set aside 2.5 percent of federal highway aid to fund repairs for off-system bridges that are structurally deficient. Any bridge or road not on the National Highway System is designated as off system. In Pennsylvania, 3,770 of the state’s 22,737 bridges, or 16.6 percent, were classified as structurally deficient. Of those, 90 percent were considered off-system, according to a study done by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

“We are at a crossroads with regard to infrastructure,” Fitzpatrick said. “This Congress has the unique opportunity to come together to forge bipartisan consensus on this critical issue. With the American public overwhelmingly supporting physical infrastructure investments, our bipartisan ‘Support for Community Bridges Act’ would provide more targeted funding for Pennsylvania’s bridges to improve both our transportation network and safety.”

The legislation would ensure that state’s receive more money for off-system bridges and that states would not receive less transportation funding under the new formula. Based on last year’s funding levels, off-system bridges would receive an estimated $1.2 billion for repairs, up from $776 million. The funds would come from both the highway trust fund and general treasury funds allocated to the highway aid program through congressional appropriations.

The legislation is supported by the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the National League of Cities. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and was co-sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).