Data Shows Pennsylvania’s Bridges Are Worst in the Country on Eve of Obama Bridge Speech

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PennPIRG Education Fund

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 22 – With President Obama calling for robust investments in repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges today, PennPIRG released data documenting the number of “structurally deficient” bridges in the state.

Breaking down data county-by-county, the report finds that a total of 5,906 bridges in Pennsylvania, or 26.5 percent of all bridges are rated structurally deficient by government standards, making Pennsylvania the worst in the nation. While it would cost $7.81 billion to bring all of the state’s bridges into a state of good repair, the state only spent $464 million on bridge repair in 2008.  

Prioritizing timely road and bridge repair saves money, creates jobs, and can save lives. Putting off needed maintenance can cost taxpayers up to three times as much down the line. Repair projects also create 16 percent more jobs than new highway projects.

“While highway builders have long lobbied for more roads and ever-wider highways to boost their profits, we cannot afford to waste scarce taxpayer dollars on new capacity before we fix what we already have,” said PennPIRG Program Associate Alana Miller.

“With tight budgets and stubbornly high unemployment, President Obama’s call to repair our infrastructure is on target. Fixing it first saves money, improves safety, and creates jobs, getting the most out of our transportation bucks,” she added.