“While the Army Corps is responsible for the bridges, a project of this magnitude requires an all hands on deck funding approach from the federal government.”
Boston (May 24, 2023) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Bill Keating (D-MA-9) and Seth Moulton (D-MA-5) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, urging him to exercise his authority to support installation resilience in order to provide funding for the replacement of the Cape Cod Canal Bridges, which provide the only land-based access to and from Joint Base Cape Cod.
“Given Joint Base Cape Cod’s contributions to our national defense strategy and protection of the homeland, we urge the Department of Defense also to contribute to its resilience by providing a portion of the funding to replace the Cape Cod Canal Bridges,” the lawmakers wrote.
Joint Base Cape Cod “is a full scale, joint-use base home to five military commands training for missions at home and overseas, conducting airborne search and rescue missions, and intelligence command and control.” Its contributions to military readiness include Camp Edwards, the primary military training facility for National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers throughout New England. The base is also home to the only land-based radar site providing missile warning for the eastern coast of the United States. A recent analysis found that the base is responsible for more than five thousand Massachusetts jobs and generated more than $611.7 million in economic impact.
Unlike 98 percent of bridges on public roads in the United States, the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges were built by and have been continuously owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bridges were built with an expected lifespan of 50 years. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ March 2020 Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report (MRER), the 90-year-old bridges are now “functionally obsolete.”
The fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act expanded the Secretary’s authority to support projects that increase installation resilience, providing as much as $100 million in any fiscal year. By law, the Secretary is authorized to carry out projects outside of a military installation or facility if he determines the project “would preserve or enhance the resilience” of a military installation or of community infrastructure “determined by the Secretary concerned to be necessary to maintain, improve, or rapidly reestablish installation mission assurance and mission-essential functions.”