The White House announced on Friday the release of $5.3 billion for the repair and construction of bridges, the first installment of the $27 billion provided for such work in the bipartisan infrastructure package President Joe Biden signed into law two months ago.
Speaking at the White House, Biden highlighted one of his most significant legislative accomplishments so far at a time when other major portions of his agenda seem to have stalled out. "My bipartisan infrastructure law includes the largest investment in our nation's bridges since the creation of the Interstate Highway System," Biden said.
In a fact sheet providing an overview of planned infrastructure spending, the White House said that with the release of the funds for bridges, "the Administration has made key progress towards implementing the largest long-term investment in America's infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century."
Still, Biden - whose Build Back Better plan is stalled in the Senate, whose effort to expand protections for voter rights has been derailed by fellow Democrats and whose effort to require vaccines for millions of workers was just shot down by the Supreme Court - tipped his hat to the many problems he has encountered lately. "There's a lot of talk about disappointments and things we haven't gotten done - we're gonna get a lot of them done, I might add - but this is something we did get done," he said.
The bridge program will help repair an estimated 15,000 highway bridges, with about half of the money flowing to the 10 states that have the most need, including Pennsylvania, California and Illinois. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave American bridges an overall "C" grade in 2021, estimating that the country would need to spend about $125 billion to bring all of them into good repair.
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