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Replacement of Cape's canal bridges gets a mention in Biden's budget

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J.J.
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President Biden's new budget proposal includes $350 million to replace the aging Bourne and Sagamore bridges.

It also includes language calling for a commitment of $600 million for the project.

Senator Ed Markey called the budget request a good first step, while acknowledging the funding in this budget is not a done deal.

"We're going to work hard to ensure that we get this funding appropriated through Congress, so we can move this project forward and deliver it to the people of Cape Cod," Markey said.

The funding in the federal budget is nowhere close to the project's estimated cost of $3-to-$4 billion. Markey said it's a price tag the state cannot afford without federal help.

“The $350 million dollars that the Army Corps of Engineers has committed is a really good first step, and we now need to make sure we get the rest of the work done,” Markey said.

Earlier this year, the federal government denied the state's first two grant applications for funding to replace the bridges.

Paul Niedzwiecki, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, called Biden’s proposal “a good sign.”

He said the allocation of $350 million “toward a commitment” of $600 million appears to indicate that the president will support the larger amount in the federal budget, though not all in the same year.

And Niedzwiecki said the budget is separate from the grants the Army Corps of Engineers and Massachusetts Department of Transportation are pursuing under the federal infrastructure bill.

Meanwhile, Biden's budget faces opposition from the Republican-controlled House.

The budget also includes a legal provision for transferring responsibility for the design and replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, and ultimately, their ownership, from the federal government to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The president's full proposed budget can be viewed here; the provision for the Cape Cod bridges replacement project appears on page 119.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.
Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.