August first’s collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis offered a stark demonstration of the state of infrastructure in the nation – a topic which normally receives scant attention in the media. It also coincided with proposed legislation by Senate Banking Chairman, Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to establish a national infrastructure bank with $60 billion credit bonding capacity to fund publicly held projects.
The legislation seeks to fill the funding gap to repair and modernize aging infrastructure projects across the nation. As summarized by the proposed Act’s authors, these gaps include:
• An estimated $21.8 billion annual need over 20 years to improve operational capacity of transit systems (Federal Transit Administration.)
• $131.7 billion and $9.4 billion annually for 20 years to fix “deficient” roads and bridges, respectively (Federal Highway Administration.)
• $151 billion and $390 billion annually for 20 years to repair obsolete drinking water and wastewater systems (Environmental Protection Agency.)