DOT Releases Bridge and Road Condition Data by State

In this image from CBS’s "60 Minutes" report “Falling Apart: America’s Neglected Infrastructure,” which aired last November, a structure was built beneath this steel arch bridge in Pittsburgh to catch any falling debris from the concrete deck. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released data about the road and bridge conditions for each state. The data shows that nearly half the country's roads and more than 25% of its bridges are in "poor" condition, and this is costing each motorist an average of $300 annually.

The Highway Trust Fund is set to expire on July 31. The DOT says that without action from Congress, federal funding for transportation will come to a screeching halt -- and with it, so will traffic in many places. Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. And our transportation system -- roads and bridges, especially -- is in a dire state of disrepair because of it. Experts agree that the only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill, says the DOT.

“The expected level of funding is a serious long-term problem,” commented Pat Loftus, chairman emeritus and legislative consultant for the National Steel Bridge Alliance. “The $50 billion per year funding level is inadequate to maintain the current infrastructure. If we want to both maintain and expand our nation’s transportation capabilities, a funding level of between $70 and $90 billion is required.”

States will increasingly turn to alternate funding strategies, including public-private partnerships (PPPs), an expansion of toll roads and private financing. Loftus says it is critical for the industry to be proactive in contacting elected government representatives and letting them know how important it is to enact a long-term infrastructure solution.

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Update (as of July 29): Congress has passed a three-month federal transportation funding extension through October 29.