Congress is on track to provide an additional $1.14 billion in 2023 to reduce the backlog of structurally deficient bridges. But that’s not even close to what’s needed to fix the problem.
A 2021 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers said 46,154 structurally deficient bridges in the United States are in “poor condition”. Fixing them all would cost an estimated $125 billion.
The ASCE said America would need to spend $22.7 billion on repairs every year, and the country has spent around $14.4 billion annually. The $1 billion for 2023 is being included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package Congress is currently negotiating.
D.C. isn’t alone in trying to address the backlog. 37 states have increased or reformed their gas taxes since 2010 to invest in bridge repairs.
The worst state in the country is Rhode Island, where 22 percent of bridges are in poor condition, while just 1.3 percent of Texas bridges are in poor condition. The nationwide average is 7.5 percent. These bridges are used 178 million times per day.
Straight Arrow News produced a four-part report on crumbling bridges in Iowa, which has the third-worst ranking in the country. The director of the Bridges and Structures Bureau for Iowa’s Department of Transportation, James Nelson, said a bridge in poor condition is not dangerous.
“It’s important to note, that a poor bridge is not an unsafe bridge. A poor bridge just means there’s something on it that we would like to repair, rehabilitate or even potentially replace,” Nelson said.
Iowa has 23,799 bridges aging faster than they can be repaired.