There are 63,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States.
It's better when our bridges don't collapse.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Then ask yourself: How is this not seen as a national scandal? After all, even though "structurally deficient" doesn't necessarily mean "likely to collapse tomorrow," we have seen some major bridge collapses in recent years, and 63,000 is a lot of bridges. Collectively, these bridges are crossed 250 million times a day. So again, why is this not something the government is aggressively working to fix? Oh, wait:
With an ample boost in federal money, $100.2 billion was spent by governments on all levels in 2010 on capital improvements for the nation’s 604,493 bridges and 4.1 million miles of roads.
That sort of spending brought progress in the first decade of the 21st century, leading to a slight decline in the number of deficient bridges.
But with much of the nation’s post-World War II infrastructure wearing out and the federal gas tax that built it steadily declining, experts say more than 1 trillion dollars of investment is need to shore it up.
That's right, it would require the government spending money to bring 63,000 bridges up to standard. Therefore, not only does it not rank at the top of the Republican priorities list, it's almost seen as some kind of outrage to suggest, even though it would be a major job creator. You don't put $1 trillion into bridges without taxing someone
, after all, and low taxes rank well above jobs on that Republican priorities list. Hey, maybe if Republicans cut our taxes enough, we'll be able to afford rowboats for when bridges become a weird 20th-century anachronism.
In the shorter term, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association suggests posting signs identifying bridges as structurally deficient. That's a great idea—want to bet politicians would get a lot more pressure on this issue if every time anyone crossed a structurally deficient bridge, they passed a sign labeling it as such?