WASHINGTON Feb 28 More funding is needed to
address a growing "infrastructure deficit" in the United States,
as aging bridges, roads and highways crumble, putting drivers at
risk, the U.S. Department of Transportation said in a report on
In the report to Congress, the agency said all levels of the
U.S. government would need to spend between $123.7 billion and
$145.9 billion per year to maintain and improve the condition of
roads and bridges alone.
In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available,
about $100 billion was spent, including almost $12 billion in
funds provided by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the
stimulus package crafted to pump money into the economy during
the severe recession.
The preventative maintenance backlog for transit reached $86
billion and was expanding at about $2.5 billion per year,
according to the report. The shortfall affects individual
commuters as well freight movement around the country.
Over two-thirds of the 604,493 bridges in the United States
were 26 years old or older as of 2010.
Of the total bridges, 11.5 percent were structurally
deficient, while 12.8 percent were functionally obsolete, it
said, meaning they did not meet current design standards.
Spending on public transit systems including rail and buses
was also falling behind.
The report indicated that as much as $24.5 billion was
needed per year to improve the condition of transit rail and bus
systems. In 2010, total spending was $16.5 billion.
Some transit systems were running rail cars more than 30
years old, but the report found that over 75 percent of needed
repairs affected other facets of transit systems, such as rail
stations, trestles, and power substations.
The department's "conditions and performance" report, given
to Congress every two years, came days after U.S. President
Barack Obama announced a four-year, $302 billion plan to repair
the country's crumbling roads and bridges.
The proposal, which relies on tax reform for funding, was
not expected to gain traction on Capitol Hill.
Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to renew federal funding
for transportation programs and the Highway Trust Fund that
helps pay for road and bridge projects on the verge of