Date: April 10, 2015
In Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. chances are the answer is yes! There are 4.1 million vehicles crossing the 317 bridges in Maryland that are in need of structural repair as stated by the 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation National Bridge Inventory and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. There are also 1,120 bridges in Virginia and 14 bridges in the District that are classified as structurally deficient.
Some might remember hearing the news story this past February of the grandmother in Maryland driving under the I-495 overpass bridge on Suitland Road in Prince George’s county (see #6 & #7 below.) During afternoon rush hour, pieces of the bridge fell onto her automobile smashing her window. Luckily, she was unharmed from the incident but the public has learned that this is not an isolated occurrence and there have been many complaints about this bridge for some time.
The top 10 most heavily traveled structurally compromised bridges in Maryland are:
1. I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) inner loop over US-1, Amtrak and LEEDs Avenue (Baltimore County)
2. I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) over Milford Mill Road (Baltimore County)
3. I-95/I-495 NB (Washington, DC Beltway) over MD-32 WB (Howard County)
4. I-95/I-495 (Washington, DC Beltway) outer loop over Suitland Parkway (Prince George's County)
5. I-95/I-495 (Washington, DC Beltway) inner loop over Suitland Parkway (Prince George's County)
6. I-95 inner loop over Suitland Road (Prince George's County)
7. I-95 outer loop over Suitland Road (Prince George's County)
8. I-95/495 over MD-414 (Prince George's County)
9. I-83 NB over Padonia Road (Baltimore County)
10. MD-32 EB over I-95 SB (Howard County)
A little over half of the money used to improve our highway and bridges comes from the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Investments are made annually by state governments however revenues have dramatically decreased over the last several years forcing the fund to be bailed out using $65 billion from the General Fund to keep investment levels afloat.
Unable to commit to a long term plan, congress continues to add extensions to the federal highway and transit fund with the latest expiring on May 31st. If the House continues to have cold feet on the issue, states will continue to cancel or delay bridge and road projects therefore increasing the risks for daily commuters across the state.
One possible solution proposed by Democratic Rep. John Delaney is the Infrastructure 2.0 bill that would tax profits acquired overseas by U.S. companies at 8.75%. These funds are estimated to meet the trust fund and infrastructure needs for the next six years.
Contact your Senators and Delegates and let them know that a long term transportation fund should be considered a high priority as we need our infrastructure fixed now. No one wants to be singing to the tune of “Mid-Atlantic bridges are falling down, falling down, falling down…” later on down the road.