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Higgins cites new report as reminder of urgent need for significant national investment in infrastructure


Tue, Jan 30th 2018 03:00 pm
Over 1,800 bridges in New York & 54,000 nationwide are classified structurally deficient
Congressman Brian Higgins pointed to a new report released this week by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association as the latest reminder of the urgent need for a focus on a substantial federal commitment to infrastructure.
The report finds, nationwide, there is the equivalent of one structurally deficient-rated bridge, on average, for every 27 miles of major highway network. In the analysis of the declining condition of bridges across the nation, New York is ranked as 10th worst, with 1,837 structurally deficient bridges representing more than 10 percent of the state's total bridge count of 17,456 bridges. In Erie and Niagara counties alone, 105 bridges are classified as structurally deficient.
"There is no question that America's infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and, addressing our broken roads, bridges and water systems, has the added benefit of rebuilding communities, encouraging private sector investment and putting Americans to work," Higgins said. "There should be no hesitation; the time for Congress to act is well overdue."
According to the New York State Department of Transportation, for every million dollars of infrastructure investment, 24 jobs are created or supported.
The most recent federal transportation bill included just $41 billion in annual funding for highways. Higgins called the failure to address infrastructure a "national disgrace" and has introduced a bill that would provide a substantial and necessary federal investment in infrastructure.
Higgins' Nation Building Here At Home Act would invest $1.263 trillion in funding for projects over the next five years. The allocation represents the difference between the projected level of U.S. infrastructure investment and what the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says is needed to meet U.S. infrastructure needs.
Higgins said it is expected President Donald Trump will propose a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would be supported by just $200 billion in federal resources, pushing the responsibility for the remainder of the costs to state, local and private sector parties. During a budget committee hearing this week, Higgins called that level of federal investment "woefully inadequate." He pointed out the U.S. deficit financed a similar amount - more than $180 billion - to rebuild the roads and bridges of Iraq and Afghanistan. Higgins said he worries an attempt by the federal government to sidestep its responsibilities for infrastructure and shift costs to local governments or private entities could result in additional and higher taxes or tolls for residents.

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