Bridge repairs halted with lack of federal highway funds

The Great Island Bridge in Narragansett is 65 years old.

Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials say it needs to be replaced because of safety concerns.

Officials say it will cost $8.5 million to fix.

"We have very tough roads, obsolete and worn out bridges. We need the money to do that maintenance," said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The money won't be available however if the federal government doesn't pass legislation to fund the Highway Trust Fund.

"We need that federal money. We pay into it with gas taxes," said Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

The federal gas tax hasn't been raised since the 1990s.

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin said more money in the fund means more than better roads. It will also help provide jobs.

"Invest in the infrastructure. It comes down to jobs, comes down to the economy, puts people to work and it helps all around," he said.

But there's no construction happening at the Great Island Bridge.

It's just one of 20 projects in Rhode Island put on hold due to federal budget funding.