I am here to join with other Members of the Maryland and Virginia Delegations, with Secretary David Winstead, and with others in expressing my support for authorizing $1.6 billion for reconstruction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and related improvements. I have testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to express my support and am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today.
There is no question that we must replace this vital link that was completed in 1963. Despite patchwork repairs, the estimated lifespan of the bridge is 5 to 7 years. It is a major bottleneck for regional commuters and for east coast traffic passing through Washington on Interstate 95. My constituents in Southern Maryland share horror stories with me about efforts to cross the bridge during both rush and non-rush periods.
The Wilson Bridge is the only federally-owned bridge on the National Highway System. As such, I believe that the federal share of this project should be 100 percent and, under no circumstances, less than 90 percent.
After extensive consideration, the Wilson Bridge Improvement Study Coordination Committee recommended a new 12-lane draw bridge to be located 300 feet south of the existing bridge. While concerns have been raised about this selected alternative, I think it is important to note that it was the consensus choice that resulted from several years of discussion.
This is not a new-start or a project that we can put on hold for future years. It is a pressing need for the Washington region and for the national transportation system. I urge that the Subcommittee authorize $1.6 billion for right-of-way acquisition, construction of a new bridge, and related improvements.