“The project will lead to contemporary bridges that vastly improve travel conditions, meet modern safety standards for vehicle and pedestrian travel, and provide vastly improved multimodal options.”
Boston (September 1, 2023) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with Representative Bill Keating (MA-09), sent a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg supporting Massachusetts’ application and urging the DOT to provide funding to the Cape Cod Bridges Program to replace the critical Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.
“The Cape Cod Bridges Program will deliver immense social, economic, public safety, and environmental benefits for a nationally significant and iconic region and ultimately resolve an outstanding federal responsibility for the maintenance and safety of the Cape Cod Bridges,” wrote the lawmakers.
The Bourne and Sagamore Bridges remain key assets to the Cape Cod region and economy, with the bridges acting as the sole access point for the 35 million vehicles that cross them annually. They also serve as essential routes for the movement of goods, tourism, and evacuation in case of an emergency. However, the two bridges are nearly 90 years old, functionally obsolete, require increasingly costly maintenance, and need major rehabilitation over the next decade estimated to cost more than $600 million.
“The bridges’ structural deficiencies—a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) responsibility—present an enormous risk to the accessibility and economic stability of the Cape Cod region and a long term financial liability for the federal government,” the lawmakers continued.
“The Cape Cod Bridges Program is a prototypical project that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was designed to fund, and is a key to modernizing Massachusetts’ physical infrastructure to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the 21st Century. We are proud to support the Commonwealth’s application for funding,” concluded the lawmakers.
In 2020, the Corps released its report determining that rehabilitation efforts would be more costly and burdensome for the Corps and the Cape’s residents and visitors, and ultimately concluded that constructing new bridges would better improve travel, safety, and accessibility to and from the Cape. Following this conclusion, Senators Markey and Warren and Representative Keating worked to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021 to provide the Corps with a more than $11 billion increase in funding specifically for new construction projects and more than $9 billion in formula funds for Massachusetts. The lawmakers then convened a meeting in January 2022 with leaders from the Corps, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to detail efforts to replace the Bridges and again in April 2022 with MassDOT and the Corps. In recent years, Senators Markey and Warren have led the Massachusetts congressional delegation in writing directly to the DOT to stress their support of the Corps and MassDOT’s applications for federal grants, most recently in May and August of last year. The lawmakers’ shared efforts culminated in a $1.6 million planning grant for the project, awarded in January. Also, in May, Senators Markey and Warren and Representative Keating sent a letter to the FHWA requesting them to expedite feedback from the technical review requested by the USACE and MassDOT of the Cape Cod Canal Bridges project. Most recently, in July 2023, Senators Markey and Warren secured $350 for the Cape Cod Canal Bridges in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2024 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.