Report:

Road Work Ahead

Released by: WISPIRG Foundation

Executive Summary

Over the last 50 years, America has built roads and bridges at a pace and scale that dwarfs most of the rest of the world. We’ve built a national highway network like no other, with more than 45,000 miles of interstate highway and 575,000 highway bridges.

Now, much of that system is showing its age—and as maintenance needs continue to grow, we are falling farther behind. Across the nation, drivers face more than 150,000 miles of roads in less than good condition and more than 70,000 decaying bridges.

Neglected maintenance of roads and bridges acts as a constant drain on our economy and a scourge on our quality of life. Rough and rutted roads cause accidents, damage vehicles, trigger traffic jams that lead to countless
hours of delay, and waste money Americans need for other expenses. On some occasions—such as the 2007 collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota— it can lead to profound tragedy.

Why are America’s roads and bridges in such terrible shape? And who or what is to blame?

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