Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges

Source: Travis Madsen, Benjamin Davis, Phineas Baxandall, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, April 2010

From the summary:
Over the last 50 years, America has built roads and bridges at a pace and scale that dwarfs most of the rest of the world. We’ve built a national highway network like no other, with more than 45,000 miles of interstate highway and 575,000 highway bridges.

Now, much of that system is showing its age – and as maintenance needs continue to grow, we are falling farther behind.

Across the nation, drivers face more than 90,000 miles of crumbling highways and more than 70,000 structurally deficient bridges. Neglected maintenance of roads and bridges acts as a constant drain on our economy and a scourge on our quality of life. Rough and rutted roads cause accidents, damage vehicles, trigger traffic jams that lead to countless hours of delay, and waste money Americans need for other expenses. On some occasions – such as the 2007 collapse of the I-35 bridge connecting Minneapolis – it can lead to profound tragedy.

Why are America’s roads and bridges in such terrible shape? And who or what is to blame?

The deterioration of our roads and bridges is no accident. Rather, it is the direct result of countless policy decisions that put other considerations ahead of the pressing need to preserve our investment in the highway system.

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