National Coalition Addresses Deteriorating Transportation Infrastructure

CNT was pleased to join Transportation for America (T4A) and other partners at a recent media event in Chicago designed to call attention to the deteriorated condition of our state’s – and nation’s – transportation infrastructure. T4A hosted the event to announce the release of its new report, The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Bridges, which provides a detailed assessment of current conditions and investment needs in Illinois as well as the rest of the country.

The report shows that one out of every 12 bridges crossed by Illinois motorists each day is likely to be deteriorating to some degree, and 8.5 percent of bridges statewide are “structurally deficient” based on government standards. Nationwide, nearly 70,000 bridges are classified as “structurally deficient”; transportation agencies would need $70.9 billion to overcome the current backlog of deficient bridges.

CNT supports a ‘fix it first’ strategy for keeping our nation’s transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair, rather than continuing to create new infrastructure while our existing assets fall apart. Without significant federal support, the poor condition of bridges across the country has major implications for safety, mobility and economic activity. A federal transportation program that emphasizes maintenance and repair of existing bridges would ensure that struggling states have a strong partner in ensuring future safety and economic vitality. However, the current federal program does not provide states the tools and resources to ensure a continued state of good repair – and any expansion of funding should be accompanied by reforms that give more local control over transportation priorities.

The overdue six-year reauthorization bill for federally-funded transportation programs presents an opportunity to correct the failure of such programs to prioritize maintenance of failing infrastructure – which applies to transit infrastructure as well as bridges and overpasses.