The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee conducted a hearing Sept. 20 to examine the condition of U.S. bridges. The Committee received testimony from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Inspector General Calvin Scovel.
AGC submitted a statement calling for increased federal investment to repair or reconstruct structurally deficient bridges in the United States, as well as for a comprehensive plan to address the nation's surface transportation system's funding needs in the long term. AGC made recommendations to the Committee for elements of a bridge reconstruction program similar to the initiative announced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.). AGC recommended that any such plan include a "maintenance of effort" provision to recognize states' efforts toward addressing their bridge needs and include a prohibition against earmarking. Finally, AGC expressed support for an increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline to pay for bridge reconstruction and other transportation needs and called for it to be indexed for inflation.
Members of the Committee did not announce any specific legislative proposals to address U.S. bridge needs.