An aging Ohio County bridge
An aging Ohio County bridge (file photo)

West Virginia receives $548 million in bridge funding under federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice recently announced that West Virginia will receive $548,083,740 in federal funding over the next five years to replace, rehabilitate, preserve and build bridges in West Virginia as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The act, signed into law in November 2021, totals about $550 billion in new spending for infrastructure projects all over the United States.

The money will provide an important boost to maintaining the state’s approximately 7,000 bridges, almost 150 of which are owned by municipalities or are otherwise not owned by the WVDOT.

“More and more good stuff continues to come,” Justice said. “How’d this happen? It’s because the Department of Transportation and Sec. Jimmy Wristen are pushing the envelope and working in every way they possibly can. This is just more good stuff to make life better for West Virginians everyday.”

West Virginia’s portion of funding for the bridge program works out to about $110 million a year for the next five years, on top of the $167 million the state currently spends each year on bridge projects. The WVDOT intends to increase bridge funding in 2024 to $217 million, meaning between regular funding and the IIJA bridge program funding the state will have about $227 million a year available just for bridge projects.

“Of all the new programs included in the IIJA, this is the one that I can most get behind,” said Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. “This gives West Virginia a robust bridge program that will have an impact for decades. Furthermore, it will allow us to assist municipalities with their non-state-owned bridges without requiring a match. Thank you Gov. Justice for your continued leadership to make sure our infrastructure is properly maintained statewide.”

The IIJA bridge program allows 100% federal funding for certain off-system bridges, which typically require a 20% local match. Even for municipal bridges that would still require matching funds, the IIJA funding allows the WVDOT room to work with municipalities to structure the matching money, Wriston said.

A unique provision of the IIJA bridge program funding allows the state to spend at least 15% of the total allocation to off-system bridges, which may include city bridges or other spans not owned by the WVDOT.

“The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is pleased to make this record amount of funding available to the West Virginia Department of Transportation to upgrade its aging bridge infrastructure and improve the safety and condition of bridges across the state,” said FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “This funding, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will bring down the cost of shipping and speed up the delivery of goods to market, while ensuring that West Virginia’s bridges are safer for all users, including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, and that local residents and businesses can get where they need to go safely and reliably for years to come.”

The WVDOT is currently looking at 75 municipal bridge projects eligible for 100% funding through the IIJA bridge program. The WVDOT intends to work with municipalities to find matching funds for 39 more.

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