- Ben Kaplan
Local, State, and Federal Stakeholders Meet to Discuss Canal Bridges Replacement Initiative
On Wednesday, Senator Moran joined her colleagues in the Cape Cod Delegation including; Representatives Kathy LaNatra, Matt Muratore Kip Diggs, Dave Vieira, Tim Whelan and Steve Xiarhos as well as federal delegation members Senator Ed Markey, Congressman Bill Keating, and Senator Elizabeth Warren for a briefing hosted by the New England District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the status of funding for the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges.
Also in attendance were elected officials from the Town of Sandwich, the Town of Bourne, Plymouth Town Manager Derek Brindisi, Kristy Senatori from the Cape Cod Commission, former CEO Wendy Northcross and current CEO Paul Niedzwiecki of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and Secretary Jamey Tessler from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The meeting was the most recent development in an ongoing partnership to jumpstart investment in transportation infrastructure and make the region's transportation system more reliable and accessible to residents in line with the State's COVID-19 recovery efforts. The Cape Cod Bridges Program, led by the Mass Department of Transportation Highway Division, is in the process of outlining a plan to replace the two bridges, as well as their surrounding infrastructure, which have been in service since 1933 and are in significant need of modernization.
The program is elevated by the inclusion of funding for the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the owners and managers of the two bridges, in the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed in November of 2021. The bipartisan infrastructure law will provide funding opportunities to advance replacement; including nearly $35 billion in competitive grant programming, $17 billion in direct funding for the USACE, and more than $9 billion for Massachusetts’ infrastructure needs over the next five years.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a transportation bond bill in 2020. Included, was an amendment from Senator Moran, a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, to allocate $350 million amendment to support planning and construction of roads and highways connecting the Bourne and Sagamore bridges to the state road system. The funding would work in conjunction with federal funding to address construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, repair, climate change adaptation, multi-modal access and improvement of transportation infrastructure associated with the two bridges to enhance traffic safety, traffic flow and ease congestion.
The Canal Bridges connect the Cape and Islands, and the 250,000 people who inhabit those communities, to "mainland" Massachusetts. "Not only are they vital pathways for residents traveling in and out of the region, but they are corridors for economic development, tourism, and every aspect of every day life that comes with that," said Senator Moran. "Now is the time to complete these projects and strengthen our local infrastructure to ensure accessibility for all who wish to see what makes Cape Cod so special."