Fund for bridges and roads in U.S. running out of money

World Today

The federal fund used to pay for U.S. roads and bridges is set to run out of money next month. Both the White House and Congress have offered solutions, but without an agreement, state and local governments will have to curb or stop public works projects. The pain will be particularly acute in the state of Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest numbers of crumbling bridges in the country. CCTV’s Jessica Stone reports.

Fund for bridges and roads in U.S. running out of money in the U.S.

The federal fund used to pay for U.S. roads and bridges is set to run out of money next month. Both the White House and Congress have offered solutions, but without an agreement, state and local governments will have to curb or stop public works projects. The pain will be particularly acute in the state of Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest numbers of crumbling bridges in the country.

Drive across the Pennsylvania state line on any major roadway and you’ll feel the difference quality of roads. It’s not lost on Pennsylvania’s Transportation Secretary that Pennsylvania has earned failing grades for the structural integrity of its bridges. Most roads are more than 50 years old and many bridges are more than a century old.

The U.S. government sent state transportation secretaries a letter in May, warning the federal highway trust fund will go “insolvent” by August first, causing “delayed reimbursement” in project funding to the states. Pennsylvania gets about $1.5 billion a year in federal funds for road and bridge repairs.

Barry Schoch, Secretary of Transportation says: “It is a big risk it is probably the biggest risk that I told our legislature that they face on transportation funding is lack of action of the Federal Government.”

Pennsylvania does have one ace in the hole. Last November, it agreed to raise $2.3 billion dollars for road and bridge improvements by increasing the gas tax and other auto fees, but it was not easy.

It took more than three years for Pennsylvania to pass its own transportation funding. Even then, it took a strong response from the business community who reacted when they saw 1,000 signs like this one posted on area bridges limiting traffic.

Schoch says Washington is facing the same choices as Pennsylvania did such as how to pay to upgrade an aging infrastructure, so American drivers can stay safe on the roads.