Warren Requests Information on Impacts of Current and Future State of Bourne and Sagamore Bridges from Cape Cod Stakeholders
“The Cape Cod Bridges replacement is key to modernizing Massachusetts’ physical infrastructure to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. As local stakeholders who live, work in, and lead communities surrounding these bridges, I seek your input as I press the federal government to live up to its commitments to replace the assets they own.”
Boston, MA – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) 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. Senator Warren sent letters to 36 stakeholders in Massachusetts: State Senators Julian Cyr and Susan Moran; State Representatives Dylan Fernandes, Sarah Peake, Christopher Flanagan, Kip Diggs, Steven Xiarhos, and David Vieira; the town managers or administrators of Aquinnah, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Eastham, Edgartown, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Orleans, Plymouth, Provincetown, Sandwich, Tisbury, Truro, Wareham, Wellfleet, West Tisbury, and Yarmouth; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah; the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce; the Massachusetts AFL-CIO; the Cape Cod Commission; the Association to Preserve Cape Cod; the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners; the Martha's Vineyard Commissions, the Steamship Authority, and the Community Development Partnership.
“The Bourne and the Sagamore Bridges, which are owned by the federal government, were built in 1933, and fundamentally ‘changed the relationship between the Cape and the rest of Massachusetts.’... They are vital assets for the Cape Cod economy and surrounding communities, and also serve as essential routes for general transportation, tourism, and evacuations in case of an emergency. However, the current bridges are nearly 90 years old, functionally obsolete, and require increasingly costly and disruptive maintenance. The bridges’ structural deficiencies present an ongoing risk to the accessibility and economic stability of the Cape Cod region,” wrote Senator Warren.
“I have been advocating for federal funding for this project since taking office in 2013, and have worked to push federal agencies to the table to ensure collaboration. The urgency of replacing the Cape Cod bridges was one of the reasons I supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law). This legislation provided [the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] with $17.1 billion in new funding – including $11.6 billion for new construction – and more than $9 billion in formula funds for Massachusetts. In the 14 months since it was signed into law by President Biden, I have advocated with the White House, the federal Department of Transportation (USDOT), and other federal agencies to ensure this project is a priority,” continued Senator Warren.
The Biden administration awarded Massachusetts a $1.6 million planning grant for the bridges project in December 2022, and included a $350 million down payment toward a $600 million commitment in President Biden’s FY 2024 budget for the Army Corps – a critical demonstration of the administration’s commitment to the project.
Senator Warren is requesting each stakeholder answer a set of questions about the impact of the current state of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, and the benefits of replacing the bridges, by August 2, 2023.
“I remain fully committed to working with federal, state, and local partners until Cape Cod residents get the safe, secure public infrastructure they deserve. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to your response,” concluded Senator Warren
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 May 2023, Senators Warren and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Representatives Bill Keating (D-Mass.) 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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