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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Federal money from the bipartisan infrastructure package could increase Iowa’s funds for bridge construction and repair by more than a third for the next five years.
The Biden administration and the Iowa Department of Transportation on Friday announced a bridge formula program that represents the single-largest dedicated bridge investment since construction of the interstate highway system.
It will provide $26.5 billion to states over five years, including $5.2 billion this year and $825 million for tribal transportation facilities.
For Iowa, the bipartisan infrastructure package means $431,828,580 over five years, or about $86.2 million a year.
That’s about 35 percent of the $240 million a year the Iowa Department of Transportation has budgeted in its 2022-26 Five-Year Program, according to Stuart Anderson, director of the transportation development division.
Iowa has 4,571 bridges in poor condition, according to the federal DOT.
Anderson can’t predict how many more Iowa bridges will be built, repaired or replaced with the additional federal dollars, “because bridge costs can vary significantly based on the improvement type, size of the bridge, condition of the bridge, etc.”
“We expect we’ll see a broad mix of bridge improvement types across the state with this new funding,” he said.
The state’s share can be spent on bridges normally eligible for federal aid, Anderson explained. That includes a large number of bridges on the county and city system and all other bridges.
The $86.2 million a year doesn’t include the amount cities and counties will spend on bridges. However, some of Iowa’s bipartisan infrastructure package funds will be spent on those systems, Anderson said.
“In fact, there is a requirement that at least 15 percent of this new federal bridge funding be spent on off-system bridges,’” he said.
That means about $13 million each year must be spent on bridges that are not normally eligible for federal aid. These “off-system bridges” are on city and county systems, with the great majority of them being on the county system.
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