WASHINGTON, D.C.  This week, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) was joined by Rep. Conor Lamb (PA-17) in introducing the bipartisan Support for Community Bridges Act. Fitzpatrick and Lamb are both members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.  The legislation would set aside 2.5 percent of federal highway aid to better target funding to repair off-system structurally deficient bridges.  Any bridge or road not on the National Highway System is designated as off system.  Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. 

According to a 2019 study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 16.6 percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges – a total of 3,770 out of 22,737 bridges – were classified as structurally deficient.  Ninety percent of those classified as structurally deficient are off-system bridges.  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Pennsylvania’s bridges a D+ grade in its most recent Infrastructure Report Card.

“We are at a crossroads with regard to infrastructure,” said Fitzpatrick.  “This Congress has the unique opportunity to come together to forge bipartisan consensus on this critical issue.  With the American public overwhelmingly supporting physical infrastructure investments, our bipartisan ‘Support for Community Bridges Act’ would provide more targeted funding for Pennsylvania’s bridges to improve both our transportation network and safety.”

“Pennsylvania has the second highest number of structurally deficient bridges in the country, which is completely unacceptable,” said Lamb.  “Western PA is home to hundreds of bridges that are critical to our transportation system, and far too many of them are in desperate need of repair.  Congress must take action to fix these bridges and put federal dollars behind this effort.” 

Pennsylvania is projected to receive a significant increase in federal transportation funding under the Support for Community Bridges Act.  The bill also guarantees states do not receive less transportation funding under the new formula.

Based on last year’s funding levels, off-system bridges would receive roughly $1.2 billion under this proposal, up from roughly $776 million, which comes from a combination of highway trust fund and general treasury funds that are allocated to the highway aid program through congressional appropriations.  As federal investment in infrastructure increases, so would the amount for off-system bridges.  The legislation is supported by the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the National League of Cities.