It usually takes a bridge collapsing to get America talking about our crumbling infrastructure, and it’s happening again.
Apparently a truck caused the collapse of a bridge in Washington state that recently had been declared “structurally deficient.” Luckily it seems that no lives were lost in this disaster.
“In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration said 67,000 — 11 percent — of the nation’s 607,000 bridges were structurally deficient,” USA Today‘s Marisol Bello reports. “That means the bridges are not unsafe but must be closely monitored and inspected or repaired.”
President Obama proposed $50 billion in infrastructure spending as part of his 2011 American Jobs Bill. Congress passed zero of that.
The chart above from Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal illustrates just how little money the federal government is spending on public construction. Despite this, proposals like an infrastructure bank can’t even get a vote in the House of Representativea.
The average bridge is 42 years old — just a bit younger than Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose budgets would like to cut federal spending, drastically slashing our already anemic investments in our future.
President Obama, who often is derided as a big spender, has actually grown the government less than any president since Eisenhower. This accident, and this chart, explain why that is not such a good thing.