USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Bridge Investment Program Benefit-Cost Analysis Tool

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), was signed into law by the Biden-Harris Administration in November 2021. BIL provides $550 billion in investment funding for infrastructure improvements, including roads, bridges, mass transit, water infrastructure, climate resilience, and expanded broadband. Many new competitive grant programs established by BIL require a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for submitted infrastructure projects to help U.S. DOT determine which of them will be a cost-effective use of federal funding.  

Bridge analysis tool
Bay Bridge traffic.​ (Adobe Stock/Eric Harding)​

The Bridge Improvement Program (BIP) is a new federal initiative created under BIL, a discretionary grant program that provides competitive funding for replacement, rehabilitation, preservation, and protection of bridges. As with other programs, applications for BIP discretionary grant funding require a BCA.  

FHWA asked a team of experienced U.S. DOT Volpe Center economists to assist in developing a BIL-mandated spreadsheet template that would allow future applicants to more easily submit BCAs for bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. As specified in BIL, this template should provide applicants with a tool to summarize project needs and benefits and enable them to use data from the National Bridge Inventory.  

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center was the primary developer of all aspects of the Excel-based BIP Benefit-Cost Analysis Tool. The U.S. DOT Volpe Center team leveraged its previous experience in developing decision support tools, as well as extensive experience as BCA reviewers to develop a new tool that will reduce the burden on both applicants and reviewers for the BIP.  

A U.S. DOT Volpe Center team designed the tool to allow applicants to complete an independent BCA for each bridge when projects are bundled. The tool provides a simple solution for agencies to leverage the BCA-relevant National Bridge Inventory data for their project bridges. Additionally, the tool gives them access to National Bridge Inventory Analysis System forecasts of condition rating and forecasts of load posting and closures.  

This project aligns with U.S. DOT’s priorities around safety and economic strength as the Excel tool supports applicants in securing funding to address safety and other issues for critical bridge infrastructure and improves economic strength by avoiding significant delays and other impacts due to disrepair.  

Prior to its public release and as part of the development process, FHWA staff used the tool to review all applicant BCAs for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 BIP grant reviews. The tool was released publicly in conjunction with the opening of a rolling Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Large Bridge Project portion of the BIP on September 27, 2023.