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Guidelines For Change:

How You Can Help - A  Step By Step Guide

Without Your Help, This Campaign Will Fail.

Eric DeLony, retired Chief of Historic American Engineering Record, is aware of the current position of transportation policymakers as they seek to reauthorize . He says that the the people in charge of creating and reviewing SAFETEA and surface transportation policy openly declared that they will not provide any more historic bridge preservation money beyond the little that is currently provided, unless they are aware of an interest in the citizenry to do so. In other words, unless you contact government officials and expressing interest in expanding the funding for historic bridges to promote history, beauty, and tourism in this country, no changes will be made. If no changes are made, historic bridges will continue to be needlessly demolished at the current devastating rate.

How You Can Help: Contact Congress: Letters, Phone, In Person

The most important and easiest way to help is to simply to let those who create, review, and work with SAFETEA and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization know that historic bridges are an important issue, and that these changes to SAFETEA are something you would like to see happen. This can be accomplished through letter writing, phone calls, and if possible even a face-to-face meeting with members of Congress. Contacting the senators and representatives who represent you, as well as contacting those on transportation committees is equally important.

Who Should I Contact?

1. Legislators Who Are On A Committee Responsible For Surface Transportation Policy

Individual members of the committee should be contacted. In particular, members who happen to represent your district, as well as those representing districts with many historic bridges are especially important to contact since they have more reasons to take interest. Also, if emailing, it is a good idea to copy the chairman of the committee when you email these committee members. When contacting members, try to connect historic bridges to each member's district. How will their constituents benefit from historic bridge preservation? Also, tell the member what your personal experience with historic bridges is.

U.S. Senate - Surface Transportation Subcommittee


Frank R. Lautenberg  (Chairman)
Daniel K. Inouye
John F. Kerry
Byron L. Dorgan
Barbara Boxer
Maria Cantwell
Mark Pryor
Tom Udall
Mark Warner
Mark Begich


John Thune (Ranking Member)
Olympia J. Snowe
John Ensign
Jim DeMint
Roger Wicker
Johnny Isakson
David Vitter
Sam Brownback
Mike Johanns

U.S. House of Representatives - Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure


  • James L. Oberstar, Minnesota, Chairman
  • Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia
  • Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
  • Jerry F. Costello, Illinois
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
  • Jerrold Nadler, New York
  • Corrine Brown, Florida
  • Bob Filner, California
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
  • Gene Taylor, Mississippi
  • Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland
  • Leonard L. Boswell, Iowa
  • Tim Holden, Pennsylvania
  • Brian Baird, Washington
  • Rick Larsen, Washington
  • Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
  • Timothy H. Bishop, New York
  • Michael H. Michaud, Maine
  • Russ Carnahan, Missouri
  • Grace F. Napolitano, California
  • Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
  • Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii
  • Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
  • Timothy J. Walz, Minnesota
  • Heath Shuler, North Carolina
  • Michael A. Arcuri, New York
  • Harry E. Mitchell, Arizona
  • Christopher P. Carney, Pennsylvania
  • John J. Hall, New York
  • Steve Kagen, Wisconsin
  • Steve Cohen, Tennessee
  • Laura Richardson, California
  • Albio Sires, New Jersey
  • Donna F. Edwards, Maryland
  • Solomon P. Ortiz, Texas
  • Phil Hare, Illinois
  • John A. Boccieri, Ohio
  • Mark H. Schauer, Michigan
  • Betsy Markey, Colorado
  • Parker Griffith, Alabama
  • Michael E. McMahon, New York
  • Thomas S.P. Perriello, Virginia
  • Dina Titus, Nevada
  • Harry Teague, New Mexico


  • John L. Mica, Florida, Ranking - Republican Member
  • Don Young, Alaska
  • Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
  • Howard Coble, North Carolina
  • John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
  • Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan
  • Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey
  • Jerry Moran, Kansas
  • Gary G. Miller, California
  • Henry E. Brown, South Carolina
  • Timothy V. Johnson, Illinois
  • Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania
  • Sam Graves, Missouri
  • Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania
  • John Boozman, Arkansas
  • Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
  • Jim Gerlach, Pennsylvania
  • Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
  • Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
  • Connie Mack, Florida
  • Lynn A. Westmoreland, Georgia
  • Jean Schmidt, Ohio
  • Candice S. Miller, Michigan
  • Mary Fallin, Oklahoma
  • Vern Buchanan, Florida
  • Robert E. Latta, Ohio
  • Brett Guthrie, Kentucky
  • Anh "Joseph" Cao, Louisiana
  • Aaron Schock, Illinois
  • Pete Olson, Texas

2. People Who Represent You

Contacting the U.S. Senators and Representatives who represent you is important, and is a great place to start. Write them a letter expressing support for historic bridges and changing the SAFETEA to include more support for historic bridges and funding for their preservation. 

This link on the FirstGov website will allow you to locate the U.S. Senators and Representatives who represent you.

3. Members of Congress Who Represent Historic-Bridge Rich Regions

Similarly, contacting U.S. Senators and Representatives who represent an area noted to be rich in historic bridges, or in areas where many historic bridges have recently been demolished or are currently threatened. These people may either be quick to agree with supporting historic bridges, or may need to be reminded of the tourist revenue, and incentive to prospective residents that historic bridges can bring an area. Crawford County, Pennsylvania is a great example. As of 2009, it remained a county rich in truss bridges, despite the contrasting fact that many are threatened with demolition or had already been demolished prior to this date.

Again, this link on FirstGov will allow you locate the U.S. Senators and Representatives who represent a particular area.

4. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

This is the interest group that reviews the SAFETEA, and they were responsible for crossing out this proposed historic bridge funding revisions. Ironically, they have a specific page on their website dealing with preservation of historic bridges yet they do not support funding historic bridge preservation. If they cannot be convinced to support these changes, the campaign will be unable to move forward.

Visit the AASHTO Website

Things To Keep In Mind

Mailed Letters Speak Louder Than Email - Formal letters support interest a million times more effectively than email. When you write or type and print a letter put it in an envelope, affix a stamp, and take it to a mail box, it shows that you were willing to put forth some time, money, and effort to express your support. Policymakers are aware of this and give much more regard to a formal letter. However, this being said, if you do not have the time to write a letter, do not think that sending an email is pointless. Any form of contact in support of historic bridges is extremely important and will make a difference.

Be Specific and Informative - Most of the people you contact are not going to be bridge enthusiasts themselves. They may not be aware that there are other historic bridge types beyond wooden covered bridges. Indeed, wooden covered bridges already receive a great deal of preservation money. The changes that this campaign proposes are primarily aimed at bringing preservation money to other historic bridge types. The changes proposed by this campaign will help accomplish this goal. However, to this end, you may need to explain to a legislator you are contacting that your interest is in preserving historic bridges that fall outside of the wooden covered bridge realm. Otherwise they may simply reply to you saying that they already have a program, the National Historic Covered Bridge Act. This act does not cover other historic bridge types, and does not accomplish the campaign's goal.

Use Examples and Mention Tourism Value - Although all types of historic bridges are significant and all types would be claim their rightful eligibility for these additional funds, it might help to focus on certain structure types to use as examples of the benefits and growing interest of historic bridge preservation when contacting those involved with SAFETEA. Metal truss bridges are the oldest, most historic, and among the most beautiful, bridges that are threatened by the current funding program. They are also the structure type that shows the greatest unused potential to being an interest of the general public. In my opinion, a major reason why metal truss bridges are not cherished like covered bridges is simply because the general public is unaware of them. They are not advertised like covered bridges are. Keeping that in mind, it may be a good idea to remind legislators that if advertised by local tourism programs, other historic bridges like metal truss bridges have the same potential to bring tourism dollars to a region that wooden covered bridges have already successfully done. This might prove especially appealing to an area that does not have wooden covered bridges, yet has many metal truss bridges for example. If preserved and advertised, a county like Iroquois County, Illinois which has mostly metal truss type historic bridges could be attracting the same type of revenue that a covered bridge area like Ashtabula County, Ohio attracts. Metal truss bridges offer a good example to argue for these changes to historic bridge funding. Historic concrete arch bridges are also another specific historic bridge structure type that is under-funded with the current program, yet seem to be found as attractive by the general public. Indeed many modern bridges have an arch bridge facade attached to the side of them for decoration. Why not preserve the real arch bridges?

Example Letter

You are encouraged to create your own letter from scratch so it will be unique. However the below generic letter is offered for ideas for talking points. Be sure to include a personal connection to historic bridges or why historic bridges are important to you as that is not included.

View Sample Letter

Anything Else I Can Do?

If you can spread the word to other people who might be interested in writing letters, this will help to ensure the success of this campaign. Our government will only do something when a large group of people speak up. Help ensure that the group that speaks for historic bridges is as large as possible. Any "advertising" you can do is appreciated also. HistoricBridges.org is not a formal organization and has no real funds to promote itself, so this campaign largely is reliant on the general community of interested individuals to do whatever they can, whether it be simply telling a friend about the campaign, nailing posters onto a phone pole, or putting a commercial on television.

Below is a link to a larger Turning The Tide logo for your use. Also, the link to access the Turning the Tide page is www.historicbridges.org/info/tide

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