If the president's jobs act were to pass, the subsequent infrastructure investment might become a bridge to work for many of the country's unemployed. What's certain is that there are more than enough bridges in need of the upkeep.
Indeed, currently there are roughly 150,000 bridges in America deemed “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete” by the Federal Highway Administration, the Center for American Progress notes. Of those, 68,000 lie within only ten states.
Not making necessary bridge repairs can have real and very tragic consequences. In August 2007, for example, a bridge in Minnesota crowded with rush hour traffic collapsed, killing 13.
And the problem isn't going away. It may in fact be getting worse, as cities cut back spending to get their budgets in order. Recently, a survey by the National League of Cities found 60 percent of cities are now delaying infrastructure projects due to the budgetary reasons. That's especially worrisome considering that a 2009 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which estimated that $2.2 trillion dollars would be required to bring U.S. infrastructure up to speed by 2014. Federal spending is instead expected to be about half that.
Those projections could change slightly, however, pending recent legislation, as President Obama's American Jobs Act has called for a $50 billion investment in crucial infrastructure repairs that could provide as many as 750,000 Americans with employment, according to the Center for American Progress.
Some have additionally argued that the infrastructure repairs would help commerce by reducing bottlenecks and improving transportation, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Currently it's estimated that clogged roads cost the economy $80 billion a year in wasted fuel and lost productivity.
Here are the 10 states with the most bridges in need of repair, according to the Center for American Progress: