April 12, 2016

Warner, Kaine, Beyer, Connolly, Norton Call For NPS, Regional Collaboration On Memorial Bridge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the following statement today regarding the upcoming April 14 deadline to apply for the Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant program:

“Congress established the FASTLANE grant program specifically to fund transportation infrastructure projects of great national significance, and the regional delegation worked to ensure that the National Park Service could participate.

“The Memorial Bridge, which is both a critical piece of our regional transportation system and an important symbol of our country, is unmistakably such a project.

“Without a significant overhaul process that must start now, the National Park Service says this 84-year-old bridge, which carries 68,000 vehicles daily, will be forced to close entirely in 2021. 

“We urge the National Park Service in the strongest possible terms to work cooperatively with the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure that a viable FASTLANE application for the Memorial Bridge is submitted by NPS by the April 14 deadline in order to move forward with a plan for federal funding of this critical regional project.”

In addition, the members sent a letter to NPS Director Jon Jarvis, urging the National Park Service to work cooperatively with transportation officials in Virginia and the District of Columbia to submit a FASTLANE grant application this week for the Arlington Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation Project. Click here to read the letter to Director Jarvis.

First opened in 1932, the Arlington Memorial Bridge has never undergone a major overhaul. The National Park Service (NPS) has said that without a full rehabilitation, estimated to cost $250 million, the Memorial Bridge will not be safe for traffic by 2021. More than 68,000 vehicles cross the bridge between Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA every day.

According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, closing the Memorial Bridge would cost local governments a projected $168,000 per day ($75 million per year) by 2021 in transportation outlays alone. Transit studies suggest that traffic from the bridge would spill over onto other area bridges, particularly the 14th Street Bridge and Roosevelt Bridge. The impact on an already-strained transportation system could likely produce new, extreme levels of gridlock in the nation’s capital and its Northern Virginia suburbs.

The FASTLANE program was established as part of the bipartisan transportation bill passed by Congress last year, which included grant funding specifically set aside for “nationally significant freight and highway projects” such as Memorial Bridge.

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