Today, we’re launching the next phase of T4 America: A new alliance of business, elected, and civic leaders from cities, towns and suburbs across the nation. The new alliance kicks off today: Tune in this morning to the live webcast, which goes live at 8:30 a.m. eastern time.
Already standing in sharp contrast to the House’s approach to funding transportation for the next fiscal year, leaders in the Senate are working to further improve the smart Senate transportation funding bill through a handful of amendments to the bill as it reaches the floor.
As the House aims to slash, tell the Senate to protect money for rail, transit & TIGER in next week’s budget vote
While the House plan for transportation slashes money for passenger rail, new transit construction and innovative TIGER grants, a Senate committee has drafted a budget that increases funding for new transit construction, keeps and expands TIGER, provides support for Amtrak and passenger rail improvements, and funds a new grant program to jumpstart progress on repairing critical bridges.
Key Senate committee recognizes the importance of passenger rail, TIGER, transit and repairing our nation’s bridges
Less than a week after the release of The Fix We’re In For — our report on the nation’s bridges showing that one in nine US bridges are structurally deficient — a key Senate committee passed a yearly funding bill that provides new money for repairing these deficient bridges across the country.
We hope you had a chance to check out our new report yesterday on the state of our nation’s bridges? 1 in 9 US bridges — about 66,500 in total — are rated structurally deficient and in urgent need of repairs, maintenance or even replacement. This is an updated version of the data we released two years ago, and the findings are much the same: Everyday, Americans of all different stripes drive across these deficient bridges, with more than 260 million trips taken each day on these bridges. And though we’ve gotten about 0.5 percent better nationally in the last two years, from 11.5 to 11 percent total deficient, that’s only a difference of about 2,400 deficient bridges.
With the second collapse of an Interstate bridge in six years, Americans might expect Congress to leap into action to ensure adequate funding for bridge rehab and replacement. But as we have reminded numerous reporters since an I-5 bridge dropped into Washington’s Skagit River, federal lawmakers instead took a gamble and eliminated the nation’s dedicated bridge repair fund last summer.
Unsurprisingly, the sudden collapse of the 58-year-old Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state last Thursday night captured the attention of the country and virtually all major national news outlets. Just like in the days after the Minnesapolis I-35W bridge collapse — though mercifully no one died in this incident — reporters scrambled to understand the issue of bridge condition and asked the same question: “how could this happen, and could it happen again somewhere else tomorrow?”
Shortly after the evening commute last night (around 7 p.m. local time) an entire section of the Interstate 5 bridge — both north and southbound lanes — over the Skagit River north of Seattle, Washington collapsed and fell into the river, sending two cars tumbling down into the river, injuring three yet miraculously killing no one. One of those who plunged into the river along with his wife called it a “miracle” that no one was killed or more severely injured.
More than a third of all U.S. states have plans of some sort to raise new money for transportation to help cover yawning budget shortfalls and keep up with maintenance and new construction of their state transportation networks. NPR picked up that story this week and talked to T4 America director James Corless about the growing trend of states stepping out on their own to raise their own money for transportation to augment the federal funding that did not increase with the last transportation bill.
With MAP-21 signed into law last summer, attention has shifted from Washington to the states. In many cases, states have looked at the bottom line in MAP-21 and are deciding that they need more money for transportation and are embarking on ambitious and often groundbreaking plans to raise additional revenues for transportation. Visit the home for state plans here, where we’re tracking all of the proposed (and enacted) plans in one easy, simple chart. If you see something we’ve gotten wrong or a state we should add, drop us a line and let us know.