Warren, Markey Urge Senate Colleagues to Keep Cape Cod Bridge Replacement Funds in 2024 Appropriations Bill
“The economic vitality and quality of life for Cape Cod’s residents, workers, and visitors are deeply reliant on the replacement of these bridges.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Interim Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member John Kennedy (R-La.), urging the Senators to ensure the final Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill includes $350 million in funding to help replace the Cape Cod bridges. The appropriations bill passed by the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee in July 2023 allocated $350 million for Cape Cod bridges replacement, aligning with President Biden’s budget request. The Senate and House are now working to reconcile their respective appropriations bills.
“Given the (Cape Cod) bridges’ vital positions as ‘passageways to the rest of the world, and an integral part of the economy,’ securing the $350 million in the FY24 Appropriations bill to replace them is essential,” wrote Senators Warren and Markey.
The Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are 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.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded a $372 million Mega grant for this project in December 2023. The Biden administration had previously awarded Massachusetts a $1.6 million planning grant for the bridges project, signaling the administration’s strong commitment to replacement. The Biden administration also included a $350 million down payment toward a $600 million allocation in the President’s FY24 budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
“The economic vitality and quality of life for Cape Cod’s residents, workers, and visitors are deeply reliant on the replacement of these bridges. We therefore urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to maintain the crucial $350 million allocation for the Cape Cod Bridges project in the final FY24 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. This decisive action will ensure both ongoing access and lasting economic security for the Cape Cod community,” Senators Warren and Markey concluded.
Senator Warren has led efforts to secure funds to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges and pressing the federal government to take action to replace these crucial pieces of infrastructure:
- In December 2023, Senators Warren, Markey, and Representative Keating announced that DOT had awarded the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Army Corps a $372 million grant to start replacing the Cape Cod Bridges under its Mega (National Infrastructure Project Assistance) grant program.
- In September 2023, Senators Warren, Markey, and Representative Keating sent a letter of support to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg supporting Massachusetts’ application and urging DOT to provide funding to the Cape Cod Bridges Program to replace the vitally important Sagamore and Bourne Bridges.
- In July 2023, Senator Warren sent letters to 36 Cape Cod community stakeholders, including state elected officials, local elected officials, Tribal leaders, and community organizations, seeking their input on how the aging Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are impacting communities, businesses, and residents on and around Cape Cod. Senator Warren is seeking this information as part of her effort to ensure the federal government lives up to its commitments to replace the bridges.
- In May 2023, Senators Warren and Ed Markey and Representatives Bill Keating, and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, urging him to exercise his authority to support installation resilience in order to provide funding for the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.
- In May 2023, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration, 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.
- In March 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Warren highlighted her push to secure funding for the Cape Cod Canal Bridges Project.
- In March 2023, Senators Warren and Markey announced and applauded the inclusion of $350 million, toward a commitment of $600 million, in President Biden’s budget for the Bourne and Sagamore bridges.
- In February 2023, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating sent a letter to Jamey L. Tesler, Acting Secretary of MassDOT regarding the need for MassDOT to act quickly to take the necessary steps to obtain funding for the Cape Cod Bridges and to closely coordinate with USACE to submit a more competitive federal grant application in fiscal 2023. The lawmakers also sent letters to Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works at USACE, and Shalanda Young, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, urging the Corps to provide significant funds to replace the bridges.
- In August 2022, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttegieg in support of USACE and the MassDOT application for funding through the FY2022 Bridge Investment Program Funding Opportunity.
- In May 2022, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttegieg in support of the USACE and the MassDOT application for funding in the 2022 Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant (MPDG) program to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.
- In January 2022, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating convened a meeting with leaders from the Corps, 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 November 2021, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating worked to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 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
- In April 2020, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating commended USACE for its final “Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report” on the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges in Cape Cod.
- In February 2020, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating called on USACE to recommit to an earlier recommendation to replace the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges.
- In December 2019, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating sent a letter to the two top officials in USACE, calling on them to adopt the recommendation of the USACE’s New England District and replace both Cape Cod Canal Bridges.
- In October 2019, as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Senators Warren and Markey secured language directing USACE to repair or replace critical evacuation routes, such as the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges.
- Also in October 2019, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating, commended USACE for its draft “Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report” on the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges in Cape Cod.
- In May 2019, Senators Markey and Warren, and Representative Keating, introduced the Enhancing the Strength and Capacity of America’s Primary Evacuation Routes (ESCAPE) Act, legislation that dedicates $1 billion of federal resources to expand the capacity and improve the resilience of evacuation routes such as the Sagamore and Bourne bridges.
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