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Mayor Ken Welch touts historic federal grant opportunity for bridges

$49M will be available for local bridges in Florida in FY 2022

St. Petersburg, FL — The U.S. Department of Transportation today launched the historic Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program (Bridge Formula Program), made possible by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program, to be administered by the Federal Highway Administration, represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system – providing $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over the five years of the law and $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. 

Of that, $5.3 billion will be available to states in fiscal year 2022, including $49 million for Florida

This is an historic opportunity for the city of St. Petersburg to tap federal resources to fund needed repairs and replacement, including 10 bridges considered a priority. Overall, the city owns 82 vehicular bridges. One of St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch’s top administration priorities includes climate resiliency and infrastructure. In addition to enhancing safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, the funding also allows for bridge modernization to harden infrastructure against the effects of sea level rise and climate change, according to Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack.

“As one of my top priorities, infrastructure improvement is crucial to improving safety on our local roads and many bridges located in a coastal community,” Mayor Welch said. “I am excited to pursue opportunities for federal funding to help make this vision a reality.”

Mayor Welch plans to meet with city transportation staff to explore how best to tap into this historic funding, which unlike previous grant programs, allows for 100% compensation for bridge projects. Previous grant programs required a 20% local match. 

“I am grateful to the Biden Administration, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, for their dedication to infrastructure improvement and climate resiliency,” Mayor Welch said.

St. Pete Transportation Director Evan Mory: “At a time when roadway construction costs are at an all-time high and as the City celebrates being on the cusp of successfully delivering two new and much-improved major bridges (40th Avenue bridge and MLK Jr. St. bridge over Booker Creek), this new funding announcement could not have come at a better time. The additional funding represents an opportunity to help sustain the positive momentum we’ve created with the help of our partners at the FDOT and continue delivering critical infrastructure investments that will serve our residents for generations to come”

Added Secretary Buttigieg: “The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – across rural, suburban, urban, and tribal communities.” 

St. Petersburg currently has several local bridges in need of repair or replacement, including: 

  • Overlook Dr. NE at Smacks Bayou — $12M

  • Snell Isle Blvd at Coffee Pot Bayou — $20M

  • 62nd Ave. S at Maximo Channel — $3.5M

  • 58th St. N at Bear Creek — $2M

  • 2nd St. N at Tinney Creek — $850K

  • Burlington Ave. at Booker Creek — $2M

  • 7th St. N at Gateway Canal — $4.5M

  • 7th St. S at Salt Creek — $3.7M

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (9th) St. N at Turner Creek — $1M

  • 1st Ave. N at Bear Creek — $4.8M

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