Federal and state officials met to discuss funding strategies and the new path forward for replacing the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges
Washington (January 28, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congressman William R. Keating (MA-09), today hosted a meeting to discuss the future of the Cape Cod Canal Bridges with leaders from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Canal Bridges – also known as the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges – connect the nearly 250,000 residents of the Cape and Islands to the rest of Massachusetts, serving as essential routes for general transportation, tourism, and evacuations in case of an emergency. Although the USACE has ably owned and maintained the bridges since the 1930s, they are now more than eighty-five years old, structurally deficient, and in desperate need of replacement.
Today, the Massachusetts lawmakers convened federal and state agencies to discuss the path forward for replacing the Canal Bridges after enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021. Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Congressman Keating ensured that the bipartisan infrastructure law provides funding opportunities to advance this critical effort on Cape Cod, including nearly $35 billion in competitive grant programs that can be targeted for bridge replacement projects. The legislation also provided more than $17 billion in direct funding for the USACE and more than $9 billion for Massachusetts’ infrastructure needs over the next five years.
“After years of hard work and preparation, the bipartisan infrastructure law finally provides a path forward for replacing the Cape Cod Bridges,” said Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Congressman Keating. “This is our moment, and we’re proud to have helped create various funding sources that can now allow us to deliver two new bridges for the Cape and Islands. Today’s agency meeting is a big step forward for developing the joint action plan we’ll need to take advantage of these historic opportunities, and we thank MassDOT, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Army Corps, and Federal Highways for their ongoing collaboration. We are focusing first on securing all of the grant funding we can, while thinking boldly and creatively about how to leverage the law’s other infrastructure investments as necessary. Everyone is committed to doing their part for this essential project, and we’re confident that, together, we can get this done.”
“Replacing the federally-owned Sagamore and Bourne Bridges is critically important, and we are fully committed to our partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal and state partners to make it happen,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides the Corps with access to robust discretionary funding opportunities, and we are confident that with the ongoing support of our Administration and the Congressional delegation, we can secure a full funding plan.”
“The Cape Cod Bridges are iconic and crucial gateways to and from the Cape and Islands,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are thankful to our partners in the Congressional delegation, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration for their efforts to create an achievable funding and project delivery plan.”
MassDOT Secretary Jamey Tesler added, “Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and MassDOT have had ongoing conversations with our Congressional delegation, the Army Corps and Federal Highway for many years regarding the necessity to act to replace the seminal Sagamore and Bourne Bridges. Thanks to Congress and our delegation, MassDOT and the Army Corps now have access to very real discretionary federal funding opportunities to advance the project, while continuing to ensure that other infrastructure needs across the Commonwealth are likewise prioritized and addressed.”
“This is a great example of a whole of government effort - federal and state - to protect public safety and contribute to the Nation’s economy,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Michael L. Connor. “It is a priority of the Army to work with the Federal Highway Administration and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to ensure the Cape Cod Canal Bridges project moves forward.”
As part of today’s meeting, the following commitments were made by each participant:
· The USACE pledged to use the bipartisan infrastructure law as the path forward for replacing both Canal Bridges, and it committed to applying for as much federal grant funding as it can obtain for this project.
· MassDOT committed to providing its expertise and support to the USACE’s grant applications, and to working on joint applications for funding where appropriate.
· The FHWA confirmed that Federal Land Management Agencies, like USACE, are eligible to apply for certain funding opportunities under the bipartisan infrastructure law which may be used for bridge replacement, such as the Bridge Investment Program.
· Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Congressman Keating committed to fighting for every grant application submitted for this project, and to continuing to convene all stakeholders as necessary until two new bridges are delivered for the Cape and Islands.