A broad coalition of labor, industry, and business groups have endorsed the Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges (SAFE Bridges) Act," legislation introduced yesterday by Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall and Democrats on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill would provide $5.5 billion to start to reduce the backlog of the more than 150,000 structural deficient and functionally obsolete bridges across the country. Organizations supporting the SAFE Bridges Act include:
- American Road and Transportation Builders Association: "This proposal would provide needed additional resources to improve the safety and performance of bridges in every state in the nation."
- The Associated General Contractors of America: "Your bill not only provides a temporary increase in bridge funding, but it also recognizes the need for significant additional dedicated long-term funding to rehabilitate and replace our nation's decaying bridges."
- AFL-CIO: "This bill will allow us to jump start the repair, maintenance and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges. Just as importantly, this legislation will create jobs for unemployed workers in the still struggling construction sector of our economy."
- The United Steelworkers: "The SAFE Bridges Act is a serious start to addressing our glaring infrastructure decay and would being to return bridges to safe conditions."
- National Construction Alliance II: "The National Construction Alliance supports the Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges (SAFE Bridges) Act and looks forward to working with you to enact it into law in this session of Congress."
- Transportation for America: "We are happy to see the SAFE Bridges Act highlight the importance of dedicated funding for bridge repair. We look forward to working with you to pass this legislation which will take the important steps to address our nation's backlog of deficient bridges."
- American Highway Users Alliance: "The Highway Users Alliance appreciates your efforts to raise awareness of the problem and we look forward to working with you to advance your bill through the legislative process."
- National Steel Bridge Alliance: "I am writing to express the strong support of The National Steel Bridge Alliance for the SAFE Bridges Act which will create a targeted program to help states meet the critical challenges of America's structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges."
"The strong and diverse support that the SAFE Bridges Act has already attracted is evidence of the pressing need to repair our aging bridges," said Rahall. "I look forward to working with these groups and all members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to advance this needed investment in our nation's infrastructure."
The SAFE Bridges Act, H.R. 2428, provides targeted funding for States to begin addressing the $121.2 billion backlog of deficient highway bridges identified in U.S. DOT's most recent Conditions and Performance Report. Specifically, the bill authorizes $2.75 billion in both fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 for states to rehabilitate and replace their structurally deficient, functionally obsolete, and fracture-critical bridges.