ROADS/BRIDGES: Is truly adequate transportation funding too ambitious to pass?

Vermont senator calls for $1 trillion grand scheme fix for U.S. roads and bridges

News January 05, 2015
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The Highway Fund Trust Fund will go bone dry in May and it is generally understood that more than $100 billion will be needed just to maintain the status quo—a staggering figure that nonetheless belies the fact that state of good repair issues will continue to, day by day, decrease what that amount of money will be able to get done. In the state of Vermont, however, an even more staggering funding scheme is about to hit the Congressional floor.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced on his website that he plans to introduce a piece of legislation that would call for the authorization of $1 trillion to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges, and to also kitty in for infrastructural developments associated with those projects.
Sanders is about to become the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and so it seems the time is ripe for making a political mark. Sanders’ intends to make his in the transportation arena.
The legislation would create a multi-year program that Sanders suggests will create more than 13 million jobs and return the U.S. to the vaunted tier of infrastructural leaders it has not enjoyed since the early days of the Cold War.
In a statement released through the senator’s office, Sanders said that while the country once led the world in building and maintaining its network of roads and bridges, at present nearly one-third of the nation’s major roads are in poor repair and more than a quarter of its 600,000 bridges are at least structurally deficient, some are even blatantly dangerous or functionally obsolete.
Sanders further indicated that the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that it will take approximately $3.6 trillion to get the nation’s overall transportation infrastructure into “passable” condition by 2020. With the next Congressional session looming, it will stand to reason that what progress has already been made on road and bride funding might not be able to withstand a statement as bold as Sanders; however, if recent years have taught anything, Congress cannot be counted on to render predictable decision. Perhaps what seems too ambitious is, in fact, nothing of the sort.

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