Tsar Touts Bridge Program for White House Infrastructure

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

The White House point man for implementing a $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Jan. 18 said billions of dollars in funding to rehabilitate bridges and other deficient infrastructure is a generational opportunity for the country.

Mitch Landrieu, the infrastructure implementation coordinator, highlighted the economic opportunities associated with “the massive allocation of $27 billion to states to repair more than 15,000 bridges – the largest bridge program in history. American”.

“Bridges connect us. They connect people, the movement of goods. They connect communities. They connect the country. Thanks to this investment, the president [Joe] Biden is creating a bridge to the future, a path to winning — a path for all of us to win,” Landrieu said, speaking to the White House press corps.

“We have asked states to appoint infrastructure coordinators, which we believe will help foster collaboration between agencies,” said Mitch Landrieu. (Michael Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

The infrastructure czar also highlighted coordination between his team and state transportation agencies to connect stakeholders to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act resources.

“We’ve asked states to appoint infrastructure coordinators,” Landrieu said, “which we believe will help foster collaboration between agencies and make it easier for them to resolve issues very quickly.”

Last week, the president announced $27 billion for a multi-year bridge repair and upgrade program.

The Biden administration is proceeding with bridge funds

WASHINGTON — Nearly two months after signing into law a $1 trillion infrastructure package, President Joe Biden has addressed the nation to say there is more money available to launch a multi-year process of repair of bridges.

The $27 billion in funding would target infrastructure deemed deficient in order to improve transportation connectivity.

“I ran for president to unite the country. This bipartisan infrastructure law that I signed two months ago unites us around things we all depend on,” Biden said. “When we invest in infrastructure, we are really investing in opportunity. These are investments that will build a better America. It sounds like hyperbole, but it’s real.

Pete Buttigieg


Biden’s sentiment was echoed the same day by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a layover in Philadelphia. Buttigieg said the funding was intended to rehabilitate the country’s bridges and ease supply chain bottlenecks.

“We know that when bridges are in good shape, they help people get to where they need to be more safely, more efficiently, more affordably, and I would note that it strengthens our supply chains, gets products groceries where they need to be and keeps prices lower,” the secretary said.

Buttigieg’s deputy, Polly Trottenberg, pointed out that the availability of funding will help make 2022 one of the most exciting years in transport policy. Billions of dollars, she noted, would target supply chain-related freight connectivity efforts, trucking workforce initiatives and subsidies for the overall mobility system.

“I think we’re really going to be able to…strengthen and make more resilient and more sustainable…every part of our supply chain,” Trottenberg said in an interview with Transport Topics this month.

Polly Trottenberg

Assistant Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg says billions of dollars will target supply chain-related freight connectivity efforts, trucking workforce initiatives and subsidies for the global mobility system . (Brookings Establishment via YouTube)

She said she heard positive feedback from parts of the agency and through sessions with industry stakeholders, including airport and port officials, FedEx Corp. and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the administration’s focus on supply chain,” Trottenberg said.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Transportation is putting in place different programs and making sure USDOT officials are well organized as they proceed with the implementation of the Infrastructure Act, a- she explained.

“We work with our stakeholders so that when we send out our funding opportunity notices, or our directions, you know, we’ve heard everyone,” Trottenberg said. “And that’s a lot of upfront work.

“So we know we have to get to work. We have to go the distance. I guess you would describe it [as] both a sprint and a marathon.

Cargo stakeholders, while touting the availability of federal funding, continue to raise supply chain concerns. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, called on U.S. senators to approve the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Supply Chain Database Act.

Chamber of Commerce Letter to Senators through Transportation topics on Scribd

In a letter to senators on Jan. 13, the chamber noted, “We congratulate Sens. [Bob] Mendez and [Marsha] Blackburn for crafting bipartisan legislation that should encourage companies to share information with a supply chain data network, build resilience for manufacturers and mitigate supply chain disruptions in the face of future crises.

The week ahead

January 18, 1 p.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center is hosting a discussion titled “Getting Serious About Housing Supply: Addressing Restrictive Land Use and Zoning Policies”.

January 19-21: The United States Conference of Mayors meets for its 90th winter meeting.

January 19, 10 a.m.: The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee convenes for a hearing entitled “Ensuring Equitable Distribution of Disaster Benefits to Vulnerable Communities and Peoples: A Review of GAO’s Findings on the CDBG Program community development).

United States Chamber of Commerce logo

January 19, 10 a.m.: The United States Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual forum entitled “EnergyInnovates: Grid Resilience”.

January 19, 10 a.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center is hosting a discussion titled “US Supply Chains: Solving the Next Set of Challenges.”

January 19, 2 p.m.: The House Border Security, Facilitation and Operations subcommittee meets for a hearing entitled “Assessing the State of America’s Seaports”.

Freight Corridor

West Coast Infrastructure.

Legislative file

Congressional transportation policymakers are planning an update to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The legislation would likely approve billions of dollars for flood protection, harbor dredging and environmental protection, among other programs.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure panel, recently pointed to the merits of the upcoming legislation.

“The [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] has been ridiculously underfunded for decades, resulting in a $100 billion backlog of projects that would deliver countless benefits in flood risk reduction, ecosystem restoration, water supply and navigation,” he said.

“For too long, we have allowed our infrastructure to age and decay, and we have failed to modernize our systems to meet today’s water resource challenges,” DeFazio added. “If we have any hope of getting our water infrastructure above the current average ‘C-‘ rating provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers, we must accurately assess the Corps’ work essential to our economy. , our way of life and our environment.”


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Jan. 16, shared an update on the status of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House.



“The most recent version of this won’t happen, but if you look at the heart of the bill, I think the heart is education and labor and things like cutting child care spending. children and education, workforce training, and then workforce support in areas like health care,” he said. “There are other elements of the bill that are more controversial. I still believe that we’re going to find the heart of this bill, whatever we call it, we’re going to find the heart of the bill and pass it, and it will directly address some of these inflation concerns.

Favorite video

Florida. Florida. Florida.

Favorite tweet

POTUS on the mic.

The last word

To keep our economy moving, we need to make sure that hard-working truckers aren’t financially ruined.

Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, January 13

Rohit Chopra

We post on Mondays when Congress is in session and add updates throughout the week. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email [email protected] with tips. follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

Want more news? Listen to today’s daily briefing below or head here for more information: