When the Biden administration passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in the nation’s critical infrastructure last year, it included more than $27 billion to fix aging and damaged bridges in poor condition.
Fifteen percent of these funds will be set aside for what is known as “off-system bridges” owned by local municipalities and counties which are not on the National Highway System.
In York County, $10 million will be available annually for bridge projects, with approximately $1.5 million per year for the off-system bridges. The funds will be distributed through highly competitive grants.
The York Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (YAMPO) will help distribute the funds. YAMPO tabulates the list of upcoming projects which need funding, solicited from municipalities. Due to the additional funding, YAMPO was recently able to add six bridges to the list of projects.
This landmark federal bridge funding presents enormous opportunities for municipal governments to fix problem structures. When applying for grants, municipalities need to make a clear case for why their bridges need attention. The best way for municipal governments to compete for these grants is to have a thorough knowledge of their inventory, according to Logan Swartz, technical service manager for C.S. Davidson.
C.S. Davidson helps municipalities review their inventory by providing state-certified bridge inspectors to study how bridges are performing structurally and how they meet current and future needs. The company has also created software that allows users to easily log and track maintenance needs for roadways, bridges, and other infrastructure.
Upfront planning can help municipalities develop an overall capital improvements project plan. In addition to collecting the bridge inspection information, municipalities should be tracking potential development near bridges to support future traffic volume. When governments have a comprehensive improvement plan to present to grant reviewers, they are far more likely to have their projects chosen. Since the process to receive the bridge grant funding will be highly competitive, municipalities should inventory their bridges now if they are not already doing so.
Contact us today if you would like to discuss bridge inspections and developing a capital improvements plan to help your municipality secure critical funding.