There are 80 bridges in Nashville in need of structural repairs, according to a study from a construction trade group, coming just as Washington lawmakers wrangle over how to continue funding for the country’s highways.
Statewide, Tennessee has more than a 1,000 bridges that need work. And the study’s authors say in the context of the rest of the country, that’s actually not bad. (It should be noted that the group responsible for the study, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, is a trade group of transportation construction workers, so making a case that roads are in ill-repair aligns with their business interests.)
Speaking last week to a group of governors in Nashville, Vice President Joe Biden said the country’s infrastructure is in sad shape.
“The American Society of Civil Engineers says we need $3.6 trillion – with a t – in investments in infrastructure by the year 2020 – to maintain our needs. “
Biden says when compared to the rest of the world, the United States falls way behind in terms of infrastructure investments.
It’s funded through gas taxes, but the prospect of raising the gas tax is not an easy political sell. On Tuesday the House of Representatives passed a 10-month stopgap bill that will fund the highway fund by letting companies spend less on pension plans. It’s now up to the Senate to pass a deal before the Aug. 1 deadline. Even if the Senate passes a bill, however, the fund is expected to run out again by May 2015.