GOP Opposes Infrastructure Investment As Another Bridge Cracks


Be forewarned: If you have to drive over a bridge today, you may feel a bit nervous after reading this post. As Think Progress points out, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that about 12 percent of the nation’s bridges are “structurally deficient.” This is the exact same rating the Bureau gave to the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in 2007, causing the deaths of 13 people. In addition, 12 percent more of the US’s bridges are “functionally obsolete.”

Furthermore, “in four of the five states represented by Republican congressional leadership, the rate of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges outpaces the national average” — a figure that is not surprising if you consider that Republicans have continued to insist on bigger tax cuts, rather than on increases in infrastructure spending.

Last Thursday, President Obama called on Congress to invest in improving the nation’s infrastructure, both to stimulate the economy and, frankly, to fix our crumbling bridges and highways before it’s too late. Studies have said that the US needs a $2 trillion investment “just to bring its infrastructure up to date.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called Obama’s proposal a “a re-election plan.” The next day, September 9, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels shut down the Sherman Minton Bridge, which is one of three major bridges that spans the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky and southern Indiana. The bridge, which carries some 50,000 people a day, had already been listed as “deficient”; last week, cracks were discovered in a major load-bearing part of the span. With the bridge closed, “much of its regular daily traffic will be re-routed over another bridge that was already slated to be inspected for structural damage Monday.”

34 percent of bridges in Kentucky are considered “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete.” Think Progress lists four other states with high percentages of “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete” bridges: 27 percent in Ohio, home state of Speaker John Boehner; 26 percent in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Virginia; 12 percent in Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s Arizona; an alarming 30 percent in House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s California.

That’s only figures for bridges. About one in five of Kentucky’s roads are in “poor or mediocre condition”; about one in four of Virginia’s roads are; 21 percent of Arizona’s roads are in poor shape.

Back February of 2010, Republicans in the Senate stopped a bill aimed at infrastructure improvement which House Democrats had passed.  You’d think after the Minneapolis bridge collapsed in 2007, someone would take the labeling of a bridge as “structurally deficient” seriously and try to avert a tragedy and the avoidable loss of life before such could happen again.


Related Care2 Coverage

U.S. Infrastructure Crumbling, Nation Falling Behind Developing…

One Billion Cars Now on World’s Roads

Transportation is a Civil Right

Photo of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis one month after it collapsed by pmarkham


Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

The Republicans continue to show their one true goal; to get Obama out and repeal all his bills that protect the people. Examples:
The Financial Reform Bill, The Health Care Reform, The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to start with.

The Republicans do not care about the people. Their latest is to hold up disaster relief. They should go and live in those areas
as average citizens.

Thomas A.
Thomas A6 years ago

Good point, Ed.

Scott: agreed about SS. You may be right about how some of the fuel tax money might be redirected by some States or even Congress.

However, the point is this: assuming every last penny of fuel taxes goes toward infrastructure (roads and bridges, specifically), it is not anywhere near enough money to cover the 20 years of neglect nationwide.

Donald B.
Donald Burnison6 years ago

Whether we want to admit it or not, the republican party is supported, ruled, paid by the likes of the Koch brothers and other wealthy contributors who want a 2-class society. The wealthy are the initiators and supportors of the "Starve The Beast" advocated by Grover Nordquist and his no new tax mafia. They want to deprive the government of funds so that they can not help the poor and middle class survive, since the gov. is the only institution able to help. It is simply "Class Warfare" to keep the rich rich and the poor poor. The rich have even infiltrated the supreme court that is suppose to be non partisan. How else can one justify the behavior of McConnell, Cantor, Boehner and the paid tools in congress who can only legislate for the wealthy. Anyone with doubts can goggle (ALEC)} or Mike Lofgren or his book "Goodby To All That".

Scott L.
Scott L6 years ago

Every gallon of fuel pumped out from Maine to San Diego unless exempted for Agriculture has a Fuels Tax an average of 48.9 cents per gallon. I pay excess fuel taxes that are supposed to be FIXING these roads, bridges and other elements of the Transportation infrastructure.

More BS, misdirection of taxes paid and nothing to show for it; yet they have thier hand on my arse demanding more money to burn. Just like Social Security should have been left alone instead of financing wars since Lyndon B. Johnson started raiding SS for Vietnam.

Martin R.
Martin R6 years ago

And again we see how the repugnicons and their teabagger minions [Oh, they made us do it; we really wanted to do something for the country but they threw tea bags at us!!] are not only the party of NO, they are a racist, hate spewing pack of fear mongers whose sole purpose is to worship McConnell and follow his invective that Obama be a one term president. At the next election the only way to get a message thru to these repugnicons and baggers is to vote them out. Period!! Remember, the only good republicon will be in the unemployment line after the next election.

patricia m lasek
patricia lasek6 years ago

I say put them all on one of those bridges and watch what they do while it collapses.

Ed Gould
Ed G6 years ago

I dislike the repugs like the rest of you.
I do not agree on most of their stances (either republicans or tea party types)
I doubt however that they want "this" (failing infrastructure).
They are being forced to this stance by the tea party people. These "people" (and I use the term loosely) do not have a single thought in their head on how government really works. Its like they dropped out of school in the 4th grade (or maybe 3rd but I am trying to be nice). They do not have any idea how the real government works. This is why the education system is failing as these people are slipping through the cracks.

Mary Alexander
Mary Alexander6 years ago

No surprise here they just do not care. Why are people voting for these people? This would help people get back to work and inprove our highway and bridges but then you have to give President Obama the correct and they would never do that. Shame on them all!

Marsha S.
Grover Syck6 years ago

If we do not get rid of the extreme right and the rich back room thieves, we are looking at becoming a third world country with in 20 years.

Marsha S.
Grover Syck6 years ago

Just this week the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville was closed because cracks were found in some of the structures beams. It carries I 64 across the Ohio over which 80,000 cars crossed each day.

Deputy dawg McConnell is one of the senators that blocked bill coming to a vote. Also, the I 75 bridge, in Cincinnati Oho, which is one of the busiest bridges in the US. It is functionally obsolete. It is not in a failure state as of yet, but needs to be replaced because it has more traffic than it can handle.