54,000 American Bridges Deemed “Structurally Deficient”

America’s Interstate Highway System (IHS) connects our country from coast to coast, allowing for incredible travel and unparalleled trade to occur within our borders. No industry relies more on the IHS than our heavy truck traffic, and our IHS carries 75% of the nation’s heavy truck traffic.

Unfortunately, key parts of our infrastructure have been overlooked for decades, and now one in three bridges along the IHS have been identified as being in need of repairs. Out of the United States’ 226,837 bridges that equals more than 54,000 bridges along the IHS that were recently rated as “structurally deficient,” according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

This is a clear and palpable problem – our infrastructure is crumbling across the country, and the American Society of Civil Engineers even gave the United States infrastructure a D+. That is simply unacceptable for a nation like ours, and it clearly warrants increased attention and hardened focus from citizens and lawmakers alike. And there’s good news and bad news, on that front.

Bad news: Risk Management magazine reported 2017 that the U.S. spends just 2.5% of its gross domestic product on infrastructure, while the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that the gap between planned infrastructure investment and America’s true infrastructure needs could end up exceeding $2.1 trillion, with the largest gaps occurring in transportation, schools, electric utilities, and water/wastewater systems.

Good news: President Donald Trump is set to make the commitment necessary to fixing our infrastructure. In his first State of the Union on January 30th, President Trump called “on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.” HE noted that the best way to go about funding our infrastructure is to leverage Federal dollars by “partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment—to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”

Bringing a more concentrated focus on fixing and improving our nation’s infrastructure is a necessary step for us to maintain our economic dominance on a global scale. The GAIN coalition is excited for Congress to move forward with this incredible infrastructure bill, and to help repair the 54,000 structurally deficient bridges. Now is when we need to take responsibility, to follow through on a promise of smooth roads, sturdy bridges, and a system of American infrastructure that is the envy of the world.

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