WASHINGTON – With America’s county governments being responsible for nearly 40 percent of all public bridges, the National Association of Counties (NACo) today welcomed the first step toward making resources from the new Bridge Investment Program (BIP) fully available to state and local governments.
The program, which was established by the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure law, will provide $40 billion over five years to improve and enhance bridges. While this announcement represents the deployment of BIP formula funds to state departments of transportation, counties are directly impacted by the program’s funding and incentives for bridges that are not part of the federal highway system.
“Counties applaud our federal partners in Congress and the administration for bipartisan efforts to strengthen America’s bridges,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Counties own and operate nearly 240,000 bridges – vital connections between people and places. Locally owned bridges are instrumental in everything from facilitating daily commutes to shipping goods around the globe. The costs of maintaining this essential infrastructure often outstrips our local resources.”
“We appreciate our congressional champions in both parties who worked with us to ensure local bridges were not left behind in the creation of this program, and our partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation who continue to invest in locally owned infrastructure.”
Key items for counties in the rollout of BIP formula funding include:
- Each state is guaranteed a $45 million floor annually in BIP funds, making at least $6.75 million available for off-system bridges in all 50 states.
- The program requires state departments of transportation to expend at least 15 percent of BIP formula funds on off-system bridge projects.
- The program also includes incentive for states to further invest in off-system bridges beyond the 15 percent set-aside by providing a 100 percent federal cost share for these projects.
Counties play a major role in maintaining critical infrastructure. Counties:
- Own 44 percent of the nation’s road miles and nearly 40 percent of all bridges
- Are involved in 78 percent of public transportation systems and a third of public airports
- Are responsible for the operation of many local water systems,
- Invest $134 billion annually in the construction of infrastructure and the maintenance and operation of public works, and
- Ensure the safety and resiliency of our communities.
Read NACo’s executive summary of the infrastructure bill here. See the latest federal transportation and infrastructure policy proposals impacting counties here. Learn more about NACo’s transportation and infrastructure priorities here.