Biden-Harris Administration Awards $1.56 Million Bridge Planning Grant to City of Philadelphia Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Project will help the city plan for improvements to 18 bridges located over electrified rail lines
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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Today, Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded a $1.56 million grant to Pennsylvania’s City of Philadelphia under the first round of grants from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s competitive Bridge Investment Program. These early planning grants, going to 23 projects in 23 states, will be used to create a pipeline of bridge construction projects, one of many ways in which the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is working to build, repair, and replace tens of thousands of bridges in communities across the country.
Acting Administrator Pollack joined local and state officials in the City of Philadelphia to announce one of those projects that had secured Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, a $1.56 million grant for a planning and feasibility study to rehabilitate 18 bridges located over electrified rail lines primarily operated by Amtrak and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA).
The first round of planning grants under the Bridge Investment Program will provide $18.4 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding for 23 projects in 23 states. These grants will be used to create a pipeline of future bridge construction projects to improve safety, support economic competitiveness, and to provide resilient highway infrastructure that is better able to withstand the effects of climate change.
“Bridges represent more than just their physical structures—they connect people and communities and make it easier to go about our daily lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These grants will help communities across the country move forward to modernize their bridges and make it easier for people and goods to move quickly, reliably, and safely to their destinations.”
In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Bridge Investment Program will make the single largest dedicated investment in bridges – $12.5 billion over five years, with nearly $2.4 billion available in Fiscal Year 2022 – since the construction of the Interstate highway system.
“Across the nation, the Biden-Harris Administration is making historic investments in thousands of bridges, which often serve as a community’s or region’s most important transportation link,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “These Bridge Planning Grants will be used to create a pipeline of future bridge construction projects to improve safety, add or improve multi-modal access, support economic competitiveness, and to provide resilient highway infrastructure that is better able to withstand the effects of climate change.”
Planning grants under the Bridge Investment Program are available for projects in the early phases of project development, where eligible activities include planning, feasibility analysis, and revenue forecasting. By providing planning grants in addition to construction grants, US DOT can aid in the development stage of a project – whether owned by a state, a city, or a local community – that could then later be eligible to apply for a construction grant through a range of competitive grant programs where bridge projects are eligible, including the Bridge Investment Program, MEGA, INFRA, and RURAL, based on criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
“The Bridge Planning program will help create a pipeline of bridge projects that can potentially be awarded construction grants during the implementation of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These planning grants were all made at the requested funding amounts for bridges that are critical to working people living in communities across the country,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “Through the Bridge Investment Program, we are helping communities as they plan to restore and replace bridges that play vital roles for the people who use them in their daily lives. Planning for these activities is a critical step before construction can get underway.”
“The Bridge Investment Program grant from FHWA is a down payment on developing a strategy to repair and rehabilitate 18 bridges over electrified rails here in Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Fixing bridges is complicated work that takes time to do correctly. When you add in Amtrak trains or SEPTA regional rail underneath, that doubles the challenge. We’ll be working hand in hand with SEPTA and Amtrak to make sure that we can keep our communities connected on the road, and also to keep trains running and passengers safe.”
“Amtrak is pleased to support the City of Philadelphia’s grant application for the Overhead Bridge Rehabilitation Program, which is an important step to rehabilitate infrastructure that supports both this city’s train service and roadway users,” said Amtrak Assistant Vice President Infrastructure Access & Investment Tom Moritz. “Together with our partners, we will advance the process toward upgrading this critical infrastructure by improving its reliability.”
“Rehabilitating bridges that span electrified railroad is complex. With funding through the Bridge Improvement Program, Philadelphia will be able to perform critical planning activities and develop strategies to repair these deficient structures with minimal disruption to the rail network,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for recognizing the unique challenges related to these types of bridge projects and appreciate the City of Philadelphia’s proactive efforts to position these projects for future investments.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $20 million in FY 2022 funding for Bridge Planning grants. FHWA will reserve the remaining $1.6 million to award to projects identified under the upcoming Large Bridge Project grant awards that may be better suited for a planning grant than a construction grant.
The full list of proposed awards can be found on the FHWA web site: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/bip/planninggrants2022/. For more information on the Bridge Investment Program, please visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/bip/.
Earlier this week, US DOT announced that Pennsylvania was awarded $2.6 billion in FY 2023 formula funding for roads and bridges, carbon reduction, road safety, and more.