ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A new federal program announced Friday will bring nearly $280 million to the Natural State to improve roads and bridges around Arkansas.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the historic Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program, made possible by President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
According to a news release, the program represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system: providing $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years, $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities, and $278.7 to Arkansas.
The state will address highway bridge needs with the funding, which will help improve the condition of 663 bridges and also preserve and improve nearly 6,000 bridges in fair condition throughout the state.
Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system, the release said.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – in rural, suburban, city, and tribal communities.”
According to the release, the total amount that will be available to states, D.C. and Puerto Rico in 2022 is $5.3 billion along with $165 million for tribes.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct the new Bridge Formula Program funds to off-system bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency. While states generally must match federal funding with up to 20% state or local funding, the guidance issued Jan. 14 notes that federal funds can be used for 100% of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.