A case for U.S. infrastructure reinvestment

Many U.S. bridges are in bad shape that could create similar disaster like in I-35W collapse in August 2007 killing 13 people and injuring 145 others. The U.S. has 18,000 fracture-critical similar bridges that need immediate attention. Some notable structures that are critical include seven lanes Tappan Zee Bridge that carries 140,000 vehicles a day connecting Northern counties of New York, Pulaski Skyway between Newark and Jersey City, San Diego-Coronado Bridge in California and countless others all throughout the U.S.

Federal money for inspection of critical structures is drying out. The current Federal Highway Bill is due to expire on March 31, 2012 unless the Congress extends it. The U.S. Senate and the House approved or reviewing legislation to fund infrastructure development and maintenance. But they are unable to agree on how to fund the program.

The bridge industry estimates that fracture-critical structures have a life span of 50 years. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires structures longer than 20 feet to be inspected at least once in two years.

Keeping up the nation’s bridges may become a daunting problem if Federal funds not available. Budget stricken state and local governments spent the money and apply for reimbursement from the Federal government.