Biden infrastructure bill saves residents in one Georgia town $3 million on bridge repair

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Oglethorpe Bridge in Albany, Georgia, is nearly 70 years old and is used by over 30,000 cars per day.

The mayor of Albany, Georgia, said on Jan. 28 that the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide $3 million in funding to help repair a heavily used bridge in the town.

Mayor Bo Dorough told reporters that funding would have had to come from local residents without the bipartisan legislation signed by President Joe Biden.

Georgia's Department of Transportation had previously earmarked $15 million to repair the Oglethorpe Bridge, which was constructed in the late 1950s and does not meet modern design standards for heavily trafficked bridges. The bridge connects the eastern and western halves of Albany, crossing the Chattahoochee River, and the department says that more than 30,000 cars cross the bridge each day.

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) visited Albany on Friday to discuss the process of applying to the federal government for funds under the infrastructure law.

"I've heard consistently from folks in Albany that road and bridge repairs, sewer and water, broadband internet access, public schools are all top priorities, and again, the really significant announcement I want to make today is that major investment is coming for those bridge and road improvements in the community," Ossoff told reporters.

Georgia is slated to receive more than $11 billion in funding for infrastructure projects under the law. Albany, 74% of whose residents are Black, is expected to receive at least $11 million of those funds for projects there.

Ossoff noted during a visit to Macon that $200 million of the funds for Georgia would go to bridge repairs: "There are nearly 400 bridges across the state that Georgia's Department of Transportation rates as in need of repairs, upgrades, or replacement, and thanks to this bipartisan infrastructure law that we passed in Congress, those resources are coming to the state."

The Biden administration said it expects to provide $27 billion in funds to repair bridges across the country to U.S. states, territories, and tribal governments over the next five years.

All of the Democrats in Georgia's congressional delegation voted for the infrastructure bill; all of its Republican members of Congress voted against it.

Biden signed the bill into law on Nov. 15 after it passed the House and the Senate, with a majority of Republicans voting against it in both chambers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.