Summary: H.R.3999 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate without amendment (09/23/2008)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on July 24, 2008. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act of 2008 - (Sec. 2) Amends federal transportation law to revise the national highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program to direct the Secretary of Transportation to develop a risk-based priority process for states to assign priority for the replacement or rehabilitation of all federal-aid highways bridges, public roads bridges, and Indian reservation and park bridges found to be structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Requires the Secretary to arrange with the National Academy of Sciences for an independent review of, and report to Congress on, the risk-based priority assignment process. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009.

Directs the Secretary to require states, as a condition for receiving federal assistance, to: (1) inspect all bridges in the state biennially; (2) calculate biennially the load rating for all highway bridges with a structural deficiency, and ensure that the safe load-carrying capacities for such bridges are properly posted; and (3) develop, update annually, and implement an approved five-year performance plan for highway bridge inspection and rehabilitation and replacement. Authorizes such plan to provide for more frequent, in-depth inspection of historic bridges in lieu of replacement, provided it will increase the overall safety of such bridges.

Requires the Secretary to report annually to Congress on projects, including the priority assigned them on a national basis and by state, for the replacement and rehabilitation of each federal-aid highway bridge, public road bridge, and Indian reservation and park bridge found to be structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Authorizes a state to transfer funds apportioned under the highway bridge program for a fiscal year to other apportioned state transportation programs provided the state demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that it has no structurally deficient bridges.

Requires the Secretary to make information in the national bridge inventory more readily available to the public.

Authorizes appropriations for FY2009.

(Sec. 3) Requires national bridge inspection standards to be designed to ensure uniformity among the states in the conduct of such inspections and evaluations.

Requires such standards to: (1) establish procedures for conducting annual compliance reviews of state inspections, quality control and quality assurance procedures, load ratings, and weight limit postings of structurally deficient highway bridges; (2) establish procedures for states to follow in reporting to the Secretary critical findings regarding structural or safety-related deficiencies of highway bridges and subsequent monitoring activities and corrective actions taken in response to such finding; and (3) provide for testing with state-of-the-art technology that detects growth activity of fatigue cracks on steel bridges exhibiting fatigue damage or bridges with fatigue susceptible members.

Requires such standards also to provide for: (1) annual inspections of structurally deficient highway bridges, including in depth inspections of fracture critical members; and (2) biennial inspections of those bridges that have not been determined to be structurally deficient.

Authorizes the Secretary, under certain conditions, to extend, to a maximum period of four years, the time between required inspections of a highway bridge that has not been determined to be structurally deficient.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) expand the national training program for bridge inspectors to ensure that all bridge inspectors are appropriately trained and certified; and (2) revise regulations for the qualification of state highway bridge inspection personnel to require program managers and team leaders to be licensed professional engineers.

Requires the Secretary, after a state makes a critical finding determination which results in a bridge closure, to report to Congress on the impact of bridge closures on regional transportation due to critical determinations made by a state and recommend solutions to mitigate such impact.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to study and report to the Secretary on factors that contribute to construction delays of bridge rehabilitation, including any recommendations for expediting the rehabilitation of such bridges.

(Sec. 5) Revises certain requirements for coordinated activities eligible to receive surface transportation research program funds. Requires that nondestructive evaluation equipment developed with such funds assess the structural integrity of existing infrastructure facilities and next-generation infrastructure facilities (i.e., bridges) that use advanced materials.

(Sec. 6) Authorizes appropriations for FY2009.

(Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary to establish a two-year pilot grant program to evaluate the effectiveness, accuracy, and reliability of the use of advanced condition assessment inspection processes and technologies to monitor and evaluate the structural health of highway bridges meeting certain criteria. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 8) Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to specified congressional committees on the effectiveness of the Federal Highway Administration's bridge rating system, including recommendations on how to incorporate successful aspects of state bridge rating systems into the Administration's system.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretary to study and report to specified congressional committees on the cost benefits of using carbon fiber composite materials in bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects instead of traditional construction materials.

(Sec. 10) Expresses the sense of Congress that states should prepare bridge corrosion mitigation and prevention plans, containing specified features, for bridge construction, replacement, or rehabilitation projects

(Sec. 11) Directs the Secretary to study and report to specified congressional committees on risks posed by floods to federal-aid highway bridges, public roads bridges, and Indian reservation and park bridges that are located in a 500-year floodplain.

(Sec. 12) Directs the Secretary to establish: (1) a national highway tunnel inspection program, including standards for the proper safety inspection and evaluation of all highway tunnels; (2) a training and certification program for highway tunnel inspectors; and (3) a national inventory of highway tunnels. Provides for funding.

Makes projects for tunnel construction, rehabilitation, and operational improvements (including safety inspection of such tunnels) eligible for the federal surface transportation program.