Congressman Darin LaHood is a part of a bi-partisan effort to fix bridges across the country. LaHood, Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, Lousiana Republican Garret Graves, and New York Democrat Sean Maloney introduced the Bridge Investment Act, a bipartisan bill that will invest $20 billion into repairing America’s 47,000+ structurally-deficient bridges, streamline the bridge repair process with a competitive grant program, and create jobs.
Bipartisan companion legislation was included in the Senate’s America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act and passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee in July of 2019. The bill was led by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe. All bills in the Senate are mostly on hold due to the impeachment process.
Lahood says that Illinois ranks number four in the nation for the most structurally deficient bridges and Illinois’ 18th District has over 400 structurally deficient bridges. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates there is a $123.1 billion bridge repair backlog, including $17.3 billion worth of needed repairs and improvements to rural and local bridges located off the federal-aid highway network. Despite the need, there is no federal program that directs funding specifically to bridge repair and rehabilitation projects. The act has received several endorsements from road engineers and contracting organizations around the nation.