If the Congress Street Bridge isn’t replaced now, it’s never gonna happen. Congress on Friday approved an infrastructure investment deal that will bring $561 million to Connecticut for bridge replacement, according to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
City officials could tap into those funds to supplement funding for a new Congress Street Bridge. Either way the long-awaited bridge project is already essentially funded leveraged by state and local bonding. Officials hope work will commence in spring 2022 requiring federal permitting approvals now under review. The price tag is roughly $25 million.
City officials could request the newly approved federal dollars replace the local bonding, but as the federal government goes it often comes down to the small print of what projects are available for funding.
The bridge went kablooey in 1997, cutting off the East Side from Downtown where Fire Headquarters is located and forcing reroute of calls. Businesses suffered as well from the diversion of traffic
OIB friends Ron Mackey and Donald Day were on the Fire Department when the bridge was shut down by the state.
The part of the bridge frozen in stuck-open position has been removed, courtesy of funds secured by Congressman Jim Himes, leaving a gap-toothed harbor.
Himes also lobbied federal permission for that section of the harbor off limits to boat navigation, reducing the cost of the project. A drawbridge is no longer required.
“This bill has already passed the Senate and will move swiftly to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. It will finally bring American roads, rail, and bridges into the 21st Century and beyond. The bill includes landmark investment in public transportation, including Amtrak and regional rail, and makes repairs to bridges and highways that are necessary for us to remain competitive in the global economy. In addition, it will bring safe water, reliable broadband internet, electric vehicle infrastructure, updated ports and waterways, and much more to millions of Americans.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in August. The legislation now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
“For decades, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have talked about working together to pass a game changing investment in roads, rail lines, and broadband. Today, we finally did it. Both houses of Congress passed the biggest bipartisan investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history, an investment that will create new jobs, finally fix our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and deliver serious cost savings to Americans,” said Murphy. “I was proud to fight for billions of dollars in funding to improve the Northeast Rail Corridor, protect Long Island Sound, and upgrade Coast Guard infrastructure because all of this ultimately leads to job creation in Connecticut.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes the following wins for Connecticut:
· $30 billion for the Northeast Rail Corridor: These dollars will fund much needed maintenance and upgrades to Connecticut rail infrastructure, including repair of major bridges and station upgrades;
· $106 million for EPA Long Island Sound Geographic Program to protect the Long Island Sound watershed
· $1 billion for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant, which will help communities become more resilient against natural disasters;
· $489 million for United States Coast Guard, that includes all the projects in Connecticut;
o Failing Steam System Replacement at Coast Guard Academy ($25M)
o Chase Hall Renovation at Coast Guard Academy ($28M)
o City Pier Improvements in New London ($6M)
· $3.5 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs;
· $561 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years;
· $1.3 billion over five years to improve public transportation options;
· $53 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network;
· A minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 27,000 people who currently lack it;
· 654,000 or 18.7% of people in Connecticut will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit.
· Murphy’s BuyAmerican.gov Act was also included in passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
· TheBuyAmerican.gov Act will establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law.