Pete Buttigieg Talks About the I-5 Bridge Replacement During Washington Visit

Feb. 13, 2024
The span is seen as a fragile bottleneck for interstate commerce

U.S. Transportation Secretary visited Cascadia Tech Academy in Vancouver, Wash. on Monday. While there, Buttigieg said that the Interstate 5 Bridge is a vital piece of infrastructure and that he hoped the bridge will be replaced.

"Because the funding is in place, it's going to happen," Buttigieg said.

Attempts at replacing the bridge have failed to pass. The span is seen as a fragile bottleneck for interstate commerce.

“You can see how it is showing its age and how catastrophically disruptive it would be if that bridge was unavailable even for one day,” Buttigieg said. “I think you would feel the effects across the country.”

The visit comes almost two months after the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded $600 million for a planned replacement. Both Oregon and Washington have pledged $1 billion each to the project.

Recently, planners applied for another $1.5 billion grant through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Shortly after winning the grant, they told federal officials that price estimates could rise again. The project is already expected to cost at least $6 billion. Planners blame rising construction costs.

“We’re excited that we’re creating so many jobs that it’s difficult to find workers,” Buttigieg said. “But that’s also a huge challenge.”

According to Buttigieg, the agency is facing many applications for funding available under expansive federal programs like the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

While speaking to a group of construction-focused students, he said it’s possible they could be part of building the new bridge.

“In order for that to succeed, so much depends on these young people — and everybody across the trades,” he said.



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