While President Barack Obama has bemoaned the state of the nation’s roads and bridges, a new report from the libertarian Reason Foundation
says it’s not as bad as he makes it out to be.
In his State of the Union address Obama proposed a “‘Fix-It-First’ program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.”
The president has urged Congress to pass a $50-billion transportation spending program to boost the national economy. But the Reason Foundation study says roads and bridges actually have improved in recent years.
For the 1989-2008 period, the report found “the condition of America's state-controlled roads has improved in seven key areas including deficient bridges and pavement condition," according to a statement accompanying the study: “America’s Roads and Bridges are Not Crumbling.”
All 50 states lowered their highway fatality rates, and 40 states reduced their number of deficient bridges. The amount of the country’s bridges that are deficient fell to 23.7 percent in 2008 from 37.8 percent in 1989.
“There are still plenty of problems to fix, but our roads and bridges aren't crumbling," said study co-author David Hartgen. "The overall condition of the state-controlled road system is getting better, and you can actually make the case that it has never been in better shape. The key going forward is to target spending where it will do the most good."
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