Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Congress and National Groups Examine the Infrastructure Needs of the United States

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Congress and National Groups Examine the Infrastructure Needs of the United States

Article excerpt

While investigators continue their search for the cause of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, there is a renewed national focus on the critical need for investment in infrastructure and how to pay the high price for building and maintaining this key national asset.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the backlog of deficient bridges alone will cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years. The cost of repairing and maintaining roads, water facilities and the electrical grid bring the ASCE estimate of needed investment of $1.6 trillion over 5 years to restore the nation's infrastructure.

House Transportation Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-Minn.) has proposed raising the main source of transportation funding, the federal tax on gasoline, by 5 cents to create a new bridge reconstruction program and announced hearings when Congress returns in September.

The proposal would fund repair, rehabilitation or replacement for aging, failing bridges on the National Highway System (NHS). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 6,175 NHS bridges are structurally deficient and carry more than 70 percent of the nation's bridge traffic.

The Oberstar proposal, which he intends to introduce when Congress reconvenes, would provide dedicated funding, distributed based on public safety and need; prohibits Congressional and administration earmarks; and would be funded through an increase in the gasoline tax.

The administration is opposing the proposal, calling the current Congressional funding process inefficient due to earmarks and calling for a more comprehensive review of all transportation funding.

Just hours before the Minneapolis bridge collapsed. Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) announced a proposal for a national infrastructure bank using government bonds to finance capital investment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.