Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.; CP staff
More than 222,000 U.S. bridges need major repair or are structurally deficient and warrant replacement, according to an American Road & Transportation Builders Association analysis of the recently released U.S. Department of Transportation 2023 National Bridge Inventory (NBI) database. Factoring average cost data states submit to the U.S. DOT, ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black calculates a $300 billion-plus price tag to address conditions on the most critical NBI crossings.
CONTRASTS IN CROSSING CONDITIONS
State inventories of bridges deemed structurally deficient; overall percentages
States currently have access to $10.6 billion from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) bridge formula funds that could help inventory metrics, with another $15.9 billion to be available in the next three years. As the FY 2023 sunset approaches on September 30, states have committed $3.2 billion, or 30 percent of available bridge formula funds to 2,060 projects, with $7.4 billion still coming. States committing more than two-thirds of their available bridge formula funds are Idaho and Georgia (100 percent), Alabama (97 percent), Arizona (88 percent), Indiana (81.5 percent), Florida (80 percent), Texas (78 percent), and Arkansas (68 percent). Thirty one states that have committed less than 33 percent of their available bridge formula funds as of mid-2023. States have four years to commit such dollars for specific projects, giving them additional flexibility to decide when to make investments.
“The good news is that states are beginning to employ these new resources to address long-overdue bridge needs,” says ARTBA CEO Dave Bauer said. “The better news is that more improvements are on the way.”
“Most bridges are inspected every two years, so it takes time for repairs and rehabilitation efforts to show up in the annual federal data,” adds Dr. Black. “What we know now from other market indicators is that there are more bridge projects in the pipeline.”