SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Neal announced $1.1 billion in funding for bridges in Massachusetts as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Congressman Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, was joined with Mayor Domenic Sarno and Springfield Department of Public Works Director Chris Cignoli to announce that Massachusetts will receive $1.1 billion over the next 5 years to support bridge repair across the state. The funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration’s largest bridge formula program in American history that is dedicating $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as well as $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities.

The funding will include replacing the two Armory Street bridges at the intersections of Warwick Street in the north and Taylor Street in the south. One bridge that carries Armory Street over the active CSX railroad tracks and the other carrying Armory Street over the abandoned railroad.

“Last week with MassDOT we had kickoff meetings for a number of projects that are going to be happening in the city. Re-doing the rotary, Liberty and Armory. A number of bridges including the two railroad bridges behind us here,” said Director Chris Cignoli of the Springfield DPW.

“Modernized and improved bridges statewide will provide safety for all users, and create good-paying jobs for workers,” said Congressman Neal.“ Bridges are vital pieces of our infrastructure – not only to our daily commutes, but also to emergency vehicles and the trucks that are making deliveries in our communities. I am grateful to the Biden Administration for making this promise that will be the catalyst for significant investment here in western and central Massachusetts a reality.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “This vital federal funding for our bridges, the largest investment in American history from the Federal Highway Administration’s bridge formula program, is a game changer.  This bipartisan investment from the federal infrastructure law to improve our local infrastructure is made possible thanks to President Biden and our own Congressman, Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means Richard Neal who, once a mayor always a mayor, truly knows what is needed to keep our local municipal infrastructure from failing.  It is thanks to these funding opportunities that we can address our local infrastructure needs.  Too often we see across the nation important and vital infrastructure such as bridges fail.  Luckily, here in the Commonwealth and in the City of Springfield we have local, state and federal leadership who understand that to keep our public roadways and bridges in working order we must continue to invest in our local infrastructure projects such as these Armory Street bridges.”  

According to a news release sent to 22News from Congressman Neal’s office, the funding will improve the condition of 472 bridges listed in poor condition in Massachusetts. The guidance issued notes that federal funds can be used for 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is thrilled to launch this program to fix thousands of bridges across the country – the largest investment of its kind in U.S. history,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth and make people’s lives better in every part of the country – in rural, suburban, city, and tribal communities.”

Neal also recently submitted written testimony to the Surface Transportation Board on the revised application for CSX Corporation and CSX Transportation, Inc., et al. (CSX) to acquire control of Pan Am Systems, Inc., and its shortline subsidiaries.

The proposal indicates an expansion of CSX’s reach in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, and adding Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to its existing 23-state network. A decision is expected by mid-April. 

In his testimony, Congressman Neal cites the potential loss of fair competition and CSX’s blemished safety record as two reasons why he is against this consolidation. Additionally, he says, “During my time in public office, I have found CSX to be unresponsive to countless personal requests for action on issues relative to rail operations in my district. This concern is one that is shared by local and state officials, and we all agree that CSX is hindering our regional growth… I believe it is in the best interest of the greater New England region to oppose this acquisition.” 

The Surface Transportation Board is an independent federal agency that is charged with the economic regulation of various modes of surface transportation, primarily freight rail.