Shaheen promotes bill to double federal money for bridge repairs
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is pushing legislation that would double the federal dollars available to repair and replace deteriorating bridges.
The bill would increase the money the federal government gives to states for bridge repairs by 50 percent, to a total of $5.5 billion in 2014 and 2015.
“The condition of our bridges is unacceptable,” Shaheen said in a statement yesterday. “Bridges in need of repair or unable to sustain the weight of heavy trucks and emergency vehicles impact jobs and the economy and put public safety at risk.”
Nick Brown, a spokesman for Shaheen, said the source for that extra money will be determined “down the road.” He said the senator hopes to bring the bill into a larger conversation about transportation legislation later this year.
“My plan will help repair and replace New Hampshire bridges that are currently substandard and at the same time put Granite Staters to work,” Shaheen said in her statement.
Shaheen, a Democrat, visited the Sewalls Falls Bridge in September and helped secure federal funding for that $10 million project. The Concord City Council will vote Monday on accepting $8 million in federal dollars to replace the nearly 100-year-old steel truss bridge; the city would be responsible for an additional 20 percent, or $2 million, for a new bridge.
Shaheen’s bill would not affect that project, City Manager Tom Aspell said, and in Concord, the city’s capital improvement plan doesn’t schedule bridge repairs after the Sewalls Falls Bridge project until 2017 or later. But he said finding federal money for bridge projects is competitive.
“I’m sure there’s probably a list as long as your arm of red-listed bridges,” Aspell said.
Shaheen’s bill, which was introduced in February, has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or email@example.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)