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Jeff Bezos paid for his megayacht to pass under a bridge in Europe while over a third of America’s are falling apart

February 4, 2022, 11:17 PM UTC

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has an interest in bridge infrastructure.

The billionaire, currently the world’s second-richest man, will pay the Dutch city of Rotterdam to dismantle and then rebuild part of a historic 95-year-old bridge to allow his new superyacht, the world’s tallest, to pass through it and out to sea. 

It’s a move that lies in stark contrast with bridge infrastructure in Bezos’s home country: the United States.

A new study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) finds that 36% of U.S. bridges, nearly 224,000 in all, need repairs. More than 43,500 of these bridges are now classified as “structurally deficient,” and motorists in the country risk their lives as they cross these deficient structures 167.5 million times each day. 

The estimated cost to replace all the structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. is about $58 billion, based on average price data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. With a net worth of $176.5 billion, Bezos could replace all of those bridges, buy his superyacht, and still have $118 billion left. 

While the city of Rotterdam doesn’t yet have an assessment of how much it would cost to deconstruct the bridge, Bezos’s three-mast sailing yacht will be the world’s largest when completed this summer at 417 feet long, and it’s estimated to cost about $500 million. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law last November, would provide states with new resources to make bridge repairs to the tune of $88 billion. But that money is stuck because Congress has not yet enacted a full-year 2022 budget. The current continuing resolution holds spending for federal repair programs flat at FY 2021 levels and is set to expire on Feb. 18. 

“The longer it takes to bridge the political divide on the FY 2022 spending bills, the longer it will take for transportation improvements to get started,” ARTBA president and CEO Dave Bauer said. “We urge Congress to act forthwith so that the American people can begin to realize the benefits of the historic investments in the bipartisan infrastructure law.”

Bezos supported the Biden-backed infrastructure plan—it greatly benefits the delivery routes, ports, and broadband internet on which Amazon depends. “We support the Biden administration’s focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure,” Bezos said in a statement posted on Amazon’s website. “We look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution.”

On Nov. 5, 2021, the day the infrastructure bill passed Congress, Jeff Bezos sold $1.3 billion in Amazon.com stock.

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