Boston (May 18, 2023) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Bill Keating (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requesting them to expedite feedback from the technical review requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) of the Cape Cod Canal Bridges project, which seeks to explore the scope, schedule and cost of the Cape Cod Bridges Project.
“Time is of the essence for USACE and MassDOT to adequately prepare for upcoming federal funding opportunities. We urge FHWA to dedicate all necessary resources to accelerate the technical review of this critical project. Furthermore, we request FHWA provide a preliminary verbal debrief of key aspects of the USACE/MassDOT plan by June 2. This initial feedback is vital to the collective USACE/MassDOT effort to prepare for the next federal funding application round, which we anticipate to open in the coming weeks. Finally, we urge FHWA to expedite completion of its report outlining findings from the technical review by June 16th to enable USACE and MassDOT to incorporate the expertise and insights from FHWA in its Proposal,” wrote the lawmakers.
In the letter, the lawmakers note that they have been advocating for federal funding for this project for the last decade, and most recently, have been working with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor and Governor Maura Healey to facilitate continued collaboration between USACE and MassDOT to help ensure they submit competitive applications for the next round of federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — particularly for the Bridge Investment Program (BIP).
“We will continue to do our part to push the agencies on continued coordination, but we want to be clear: the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are federal assets and it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure this project is best positioned to compete for federal funding. The residents, businesses and visitors of Cape Cod deserve safe and reliable public infrastructure, and we remain fully committed to working with federal, state and local partners to achieve this shared goal,” continued the lawmakers.
The Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are the sole access point for vehicular traffic to and from Cape Cod. The bridges serve as essential routes for general transportation, tourism, and evacuations in case of an emergency. They are vital assets for the Cape Cod economy and surrounding communities, and serve as the gateway to Cape Cod for more than 260,000 Cape and Islands residents and 5 million visitors annually, who collectively drive the 35 million vehicle trips across the bridge each year. However, the current bridges are nearly 90 years old, functionally obsolete, and require increasingly costly maintenance. The bridges’ structural deficiencies present a risk to the safety, accessibility, and economic stability of the Cape Cod region.