Clinton proposes $10 billion bridge repair plan

Navy divers ready air hoses as they prepare to head into the crevice in between the North and South lanes of the collapsed I35 bridge in Minneapolis, August 7, 2007. REUTERS/Scott Cohen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed on Wednesday an emergency $10 billion plan to repair U.S. bridges in the aftermath of the Minnesota bridge collapse that killed at least five people last week.

The presidential campaign of the New York senator said Clinton would make the announcement later in a speech in New Hampshire.

“Something is very, very wrong when, at the dawn of the 21st century, in the richest country on earth, people are actually nervous about driving over bridges for fear that they’ll collapse,” she said in prepared remarks.

Her plan would spend $10 billion over 10 years to finance the redesign and reconstruction of more than 60,000 bridges the Federal Highway Administration has designated structurally deficient.

She would also provide $250 million in emergency assessment grants to states to conduct safety reviews of their high-priority bridges and other infrastructure.

Clinton would also form a commission to carry out a review of the U.S. safety certification process and standards, noting that the Minnesota bridge was only the latest such problem. The bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed a week ago.

Clinton would also increase federal funding for public transit by $1.5 billion a year as a way to reduce the energy and environmental costs of transportation.

“We do not need any more warnings,” she said. “We do not need any more wake-up calls. It is time to stop wringing our hands and start rolling up our sleeves. It is time to rebuild America.”