The President proposes a plan to “Fix It First” — how will Congress respond?February 14, 2013
By Stephen Lee Davis
Whoa. Did you watch the State of the Union address Tuesday evening? With the country watching, President Obama shone a national spotlight on the pressing issue of dangerous and deficient bridges on roads all across our country.
“Tonight, I propose a “Fix It First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.”
That’s a great idea — exactly the kind of idea America needs right now. And it was also moment of unity, with nearly the entire chamber rising to their feet to applaud. But we all know how politics works these days: If Congress doesn’t immediately hear a similar demand from voters, it will be buried by partisan game-playing.
Tell your Representative and Senators today you agree with the President — we need to prioritize the repair of our deficient bridges, now before they become even more expensive to maintain. The $50 billion he proposed will only make a dent, but we have to start somewhere, and soon. And people need the jobs!
Nearly one in ten of all highway bridges is structurally deficient. It’s a huge issue in rural areas, where decaying bridges may provide the only connections between important places. It’s an even bigger issue in our largest metro areas, where an astonishing 75 percent of all trips over deficient bridges nationally occur each day.
We do need a concerted national effort to repair our bridges and Congress needs to hear it again.
And it goes well beyond bridges. Fix it first by investing more for maintenance generally, and hold states accountable for spending it wisely. Fix dangerous roads by investing in safer streets for our families. Fix traffic congestion by giving us more transportation options.