House Members Introduce Bridge Repair Bill

The Calcasieu River Bridge in Louisiana, which has been rated structurally deficient by the Department of Transpiration, could potentially be rehabilitated under a bill co-sponsored by Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Earlier this month, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) and Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA), co-sponsored the Fixing America’s Bridges Act. This bipartisan bill reestablishes a federal program that provides funding for repairs to, and replacement of, structurally deficient bridges across the country.

The Fixing America’s Bridges Act would restore the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP), which was established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The HBRRP provided federal grant money to states that need to repair or replace bridges that the FWA deemed to be in “poor condition.” In addition, the program would set aside a 90% federal cost-share for locally-owned bridges outside of the federal-aid highway system.

“Having visited many of our local structurally deficient bridges, I know first-hand how big of an impact we can make by securing much-needed help for our communities,” said Finkenauer. “Our local engineers and communities are sending us a clear message they need help, and we can do that while making our infrastructure safer and supporting good-paying American jobs. I thank Congressman Higgins for partnering with me as we deliver critical aid to our communities that desperately need their bridges to be fixed.”

“Investing in safe and reliable infrastructure promotes economic growth and benefits our communities. This certainly includes America’s bridges,” said Higgins. “Our legislation expands federal infrastructure resources and prioritizes bridge replacement based on structural integrity. Reestablishing the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program would greatly benefit many bridges in Louisiana, including the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge. I want to thank Congresswoman Finkenauer for leading this bipartisan effort.”

Organizations that support the Fixing America’s Bridges Act include the National Association of Counties, National Association of County Engineers, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Soy Transportation Coalition, and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.

In a recent analysis from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), over 47,000 U.S. bridges included in the DOT’s 2018 National Bridge Inventory were found to be structurally deficient and in poor condition. Among all U.S. states with the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges, Finkenauer’s home state of Iowa and Higgins’s home state of Louisiana ranked 3rd and 7th in the nation respectively, according to ARTBA.

Additional information about the Finkenauer-Higgins co-sponsored bill can be found on their respective websites.

Source: Abby Finkenauer,, and Clay Higgins,