Background

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (Public Law 117-58) was signed into law, providing $550 billion in new federal infrastructure funds through 2026. The investment provides opportunities for development of transportation, power, and water infrastructure. The bipartisan infrastructure law will support the U.S. economy at federal, state, and local levels by leveraging the investments by state and local governments to expand clean water initiatives, internet access, transportation options and safety, environmental sustainability, and economic development across the country.

National Bridge Investment Program

A Notice of Funding Opportunity was released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration this month for the Bridge Investment Program (BIP). The largest national bridge investment since the Interstate Highway System’s construction, the BIP provides $2.36 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 ($12.5 billion over five years) that will support operation of the nation’s bridges through repair, rehabilitation, protection, replacement, and preventative upkeep. Federal funding will be directly available to recipients at all levels of government.

Grant and Application Specifics

Grants provided through the BIP will be multi-year grant agreements to take projects through pre-construction and launch them into construction. Application access is available to counties directly through the USDOPT, along with the ability to include multiple bridge projects in one application. Applications fall into three funding categories: planning, large bridge projects, and bridge projects. Planning applications, due July 25, 2022, provide grants specific to the planning process and enable revenue forecasting and analysis necessary to the development of a project eligible for the BIP. Planning grants allow projects in the opening stages of development to be eligible for BIP funding. Large bridge project applications are due August 9, 2022, and are available to projects with eligible costs over $100 million. Projects with eligible costs less than $100 million fall under bridge project applications, which are due on September 8, 2022.

Significance of Local Impact

Direct funding to local government entities is a vital aspect of the BIP, as nearly half of the nation’s bridge inventory is county-owned. Four out of every ten bridges on the National Bridge Inventory, and most off-system bridges, compose the county-owned population of the nation’s bridges. Federal bridge investment funding flowing directly to local entities will make bridge protection, rehabilitation, and preventative maintenance projects possible so that transportation safety, supply chains, and economic development improvements will be seen at the local and state level.