PHILADELPHIA - At least $140 billion is needed to make major repairs or upgrades to one of every four U.S. bridges, transportation officials from states across the country said in a report released Monday.
State officials said bridge repairs are just one element of a pressing need for more federal funding to improve the country's deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
"We need federal intervention, and federal intervention at a big level," Gov. Ed Rendell said after details were released of the report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
The report cited Federal Highway Administration statistics that 152,000 out of the nation's 600,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The $140 billion price tag was derived by multiplying the total number of square meters of the problem bridges by the average cost per square meter — in 2006 dollars — to do the work.
"States are doing their best to improve them, but construction costs are skyrocketing ... forcing states to delay needed repairs," said Pete K. Rahn, head of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the group's president.
"Without a national commitment to increasing bridge investment, we will see a continuing spiral towards deterioration and, ultimately, bridge closures in order to protect the traveling public," he said