By John Schneidawind, vice president of public affairs, ARTBA
ARTBA’s seventh annual report on U.S. bridge conditions is generating significant press and political attention despite the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the national economy. President Donald Trump mentioned bridges during his April 16 media briefing on the health crisis.
“Our bridges need help,” he said. “A lot of you have reported on our bridges. A lot of bridges are in bad shape. They should have been fixed 25 years ago.” The president repeated his desire for an infrastructure deal.
ARTBA’s bridge report website–artbabridgereport.org–shows that more than 230,000 bridges need repair. Media coverage since its April 13 release has included:
The report news release emphasized the importance of passing highway reauthorization legislation as a way to reboot the nation’s economy after the downturn caused by the pandemic. ARTBA CEO Dave Bauer said the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s July 2019 unanimous approval of a five-year highway reauthorization bill would be a good place for Congress to start.
That message is resonating on Capitol Hill. Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) issued a statement saying that ARTBA’s bridge report proves Congress needs to pass an infrastructure bill.