Bourne Bridge
Bourne Bridge.
Federal legislators and Bourne officials have expressed concern about a lack of funding in the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2021 toward the replacement of the Bourne and/or Sagamore bridges.
The lack of funding was outlined in a letter, dated Thursday, February 13, from US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and US Representative William R. Keating to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Rickey “R.D.” James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.
“We are greatly disturbed by this omission of funds for the Cape Cod Canal Bridges and demand answers as to how the USACE plans to finance the replacement of such vital bridges that have long outlived their usefulness,” the letter stated.
Selectman Peter J. Meier said that he heard two weeks ago from state Representative Randy Hunt of the President’s pushback. Mr. Meier said that, according to Mr. Hunt, the lack of funding was directly related to President Trump’s anger with the Massachusetts legislative delegation’s support of his impeachment.
“We heard a while ago that the Trump administration removed money from the budget because he had an axe to grind with the Massachusetts delegation,” Mr. Meier said.
Attempts to reach Mr. Hunt for comment regarding Mr. Meier’s statement were not successful.
The US Army Corps of Engineers New England District submitted a draft report to the Army Corps’ national office recommending that the bridges be replaced. A final determination on replacement by the national office is expected in March.
Bourne select board Chairwoman Judith M. Froman said that not funding replacement of the bridges in the FY21 federal budget is unfortunate. However, Ms. Froman said, “that doesn't mean that we just close up our folding chairs and go home. “
“It means we look at how we as a region brought it forward, what resonated, and where can we improve things to try again,” Ms. Froman said. “It is not uncommon that funding takes time and resourceful perseverance.”
Town administrator Anthony E. Schiavi questioned whether funding was cut by the Trump administration or if the funding was never requested. Mr. Schiavi added that the ultimate decision by the Army Corps national office regarding bridge replacement will be key.
“Everyone’s waiting to hear from the Army Corps to hear if replacement is the final determination,” Mr. Schiavi said. “Then you have the horsepower to get the project moving forward.”