CHARLESTON, W.Va. - U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., introduced a bill Wednesday that would provide West Virginia $57 million to fix aging bridges.
The Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges (SAFE) Bridges Act, spurred by a bridge collapse in Washington state, provides $5.5 billion for bridgework nationally.
"West Virginians know all too well the tragic consequences that can occur when older bridges are continuously saddled with loads they were never built to accommodate," Rahall said in a news release.
"The collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant claimed the lives of 46 people, 46 years ago. Following that horrible catastrophe, Congress dedicated specific funds for the repair and replacement of aging bridges and we simply cannot wait for a similar tragedy to occur before we get serious about investing in our bridge infrastructure once again."
The Federal Highway Administration rates close to 1,000 bridges in West Virginia "structurally deficient."
Citing the Department of Transportation, Rahall's release states there are 66,749 bridges that are structurally deficient and 84,748 that are functionally obsolete nationwide.Rahall is the ranking member on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.