Here’s what Biden’s proposed budget would mean for the replacement of the Cape bridges

President Joe Biden is offering some cash to help fund the estimated $4 billion endeavor.

The Sagamore Bridge.
The Sagamore Bridge. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe, File

President Joe Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 includes a significant federal investment for the replacement of Cape Cod’s two aging bridges — a down payment to the tune of $350 million.

More on the Cape Cod bridges:

Released Thursday, the president’s proposed $6.8 trillion budget puts a focus on strengthening the nation’s oft-maligned bridges and tunnels — a pillar of his administration’s policy agenda — and the 88-year-old, Great Depression-era Bourne and Sagamore bridges spanning the Cape Cod Canal are no exception.

Both have exceeded their design life and are scheduled to be replaced in the years to come — a project expected to cost about $4 billion.


The latest contribution to the fund could, apparently, come through Biden’s budget. Administration officials say an initial $350 million investment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — the owner of the bridges — would be part of a total $600 million commitment “and a legislative proposal that would allow the Corps to transfer those funds to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The state is “better suited to design and construct the replacement bridges,” the Biden administration wrote in budget proposal documents. “The Budget proposes authorizing the Corps to transfer ownership of these bridges to the Commonwealth, which would be responsible for their future operation and maintenance.”

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Bill Keating, who represents Cape Cod, cheered the proposal. The delegation had made a push for significant funding for the project last month.

“This budget request demonstrates that the Army Corps is serious about replacing these outdated bridges and sends a clear signal that the Biden administration is committed to this project,” Markey said in a statement. “Thanks to ongoing collaboration among federal, state, and local partners and renewed commitment by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Army Corps, the Bridges project is entering a promising new phase.”


Keating called the bridges “a critical lifeline for the Cape and Islands.”

“That’s the message my colleagues and I have delivered to the White House and President Biden personally, and today’s investment of $350 million towards the project clearly demonstrates that the White House understands this critical issue and is ready to make a down payment on replacing these federal assets,” he said in a statement. “We are still in the early stages of this project, but I have been clear from the start that these bridges will be funded.”

Gov. Maura Healey also commended the administration for “putting a down payment” on the bridge replacement.

“This project is critical for our communities and economy—we will see this through,” she said in a tweet.

Biden’s earmark for the Cape isn’t a sure thing, though. The president’s budget still has to stand up in Congress, particularly against a Republican-controlled House that has taken strong opposition to Biden’s eyed tax increases this budget cycle.

Still, the project has had its fair share of federal funding rejections before, including most recently in January, when the a $1.882 billion request from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was denied by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.


Despite the setback, state and local officials have insisted the project is still moving forward, though construction won’t likely begin until fall 2025.


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