Last year, one in four of the more than 607,000 bridges that dot the United States was deemed deficient and is either racked with structural issues or is so obsolete it isn't suitable for traffic.
In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office found there has been some improvement to bridge safety — the number of deficient bridges has decreased in the past decade — but there are still funding issues. And the overall funding picture is murky at best.
“The impact of the federal investment in bridges is difficult to measure,” GAO noted in its report. “For example, while Department of Transportation tracks a portion of bridge spending on a state-by-state basis, the data do not include state and local spending, thus making it difficult to determine the federal contribution to overall expenditures. Understanding the impact of federal investment in bridges is important in determining how to invest future federal resources.”
GAO conducted the study in the aftermath of the Skagit I-5 bridge collapse, which has severed a major artery in Washington state. The office wanted to look into what is known about the current condition of bridges around the nation and to see what changes have been made in line with MAP-21’s goals.
Ultimately, for GAO, the infrastructure recommendations included in MAP-21 were deemed sufficient and it's not making any new recommendations at this time.
To read the full report, click here
. - Jon Ross