New report and interactive map shows the state of our nation's bridges

Crossposted from Transportation for America

69,223 bridges – representing more than 11 percent of all U.S. highway bridges – are classified as “structurally deficient,” requiring significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement, according to a new T4 America report released today, The Fix We’re In: The State of Our Nation’s Bridges.

Those are the facts, and 69,000 bridges sure sounds like a lot, but what does that look like in real terms? Where are these bridges? Does your city or state have a lot of deficient bridges, or does the state do a good job taking care of them? Those questions are going to be much easier to answer with our online tools accompanying the report, launching today at t4america.org/resources/bridges.

We’ve taken the whole federal bridge database and put it online in a map, so you can type your address, and see all the bridges within a ten-mile radius. Structurally deficient bridges will show up as red icons. Click any bridge and you’ll get more information about it, including its rating in a box on the right.

Curious about how your state stacks up? Click on “By State” and click your state to see a quick overview of their performance, including the best and worst five counties, as well as their rank nationally and total percentage of structurally deficient bridges.

The national report and all 51 state reports are being officially released today at noon with a national telebriefing, but you can go ahead and check out the map and data now on our site. (Media members? Contact david.goldberg [at] t4america [dot] org if you want information on the telebriefing.)

Check out the map today and please spread the word about it. We’ll be posting several times throughout the day with more information about the national report, which is available for download now — as well as reports for all 50 states and D.C.

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New report from Brookings Institution advocates for road repair and maintenance

The Brookings Institution hosted an event this morning titled “State Roads to Economic Recovery: Policies, Pavements, and Partnership.” The multi-panel event was organized in conjunction with the release of “Fix it First, Expand it Second, Reward it Third – A New Strategy for America’s Highways,” a new report from the Hamilton Project analyzing the impact of state and national transportation infrastructure investments.

Report coauthors Matt Kahn, Professor of Economics at UCLA, and David Levinson, of the University of Minnesota, presented their proposal to a packed crowd. Over 80% of the current U.S. highway system, they explained, was built before 1972 – almost forty years ago. Kahn and Levinson recommend a three-step approach to maintain this aging infrastructure: fix it first, expand it second and reward it third. By focusing on fixing existing infrastructure before creating new, states can boost their economy and maximize the number of jobs created.

As Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, highlighted, state governments are currently under tremendous pressure to transform their economies. Katz identified transportation infrastructure as a crucial future investment to drive growth in metro regions across the country. Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow at Brookings, highlighted how transit systems are necessary to, “move goods, ideas and workers quickly and efficiently.”

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Working for better transportation options in Washington state

A new campaign in Washington is fighting to improve transportation for people across the state. Transportation for Washington, a project launched this week by Smart Growth America’s coalition partners Futurewise and the Transportation Choices Coalition, is calling for better repair and maintenance of roads across the state as well as more transportation choices for Washingtonians. These transportation spending strategies – which are in line with many of Smart Growth America’s recent recommendations for Washington – create jobs, spur economic growth and improve Washington’s transportation system at the same time.

Roger Millar, Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, discussed these same issues with Ross Reynolds on KUOW-94.9 Seattle’s The Conversation earlier this week. Together with Mike Ennis, Director of the Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center, Millar discussed the state of Washington’s transportation system and how the state can get more out of their transportation dollars:

Funding for public transportation is currently a hot topic in Washington state. A bill recently introduced to the state legislature would allow local transit agencies to seek funding to finance public transit projects. According to the Washington Transportation Commission, Washington currently has over $200 billion in unfunded transportation projects – and that need is growing.

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