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With President Obama calling for robust investments in repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges today, the Rhode Island Public Interest Research Group (RIPIRG) Education Fund released data today documenting the number of “structurally deficient” bridges in Rhode Island.
Breaking down data county-by-county for the first time, the report finds that a total of 163 bridges in the state, or 21.6 percent of all bridges are rated structurally deficient by government standards, making Rhode Island the 4th worst in the nation for bridge conditions. While it would cost $1.13 billion to bring all of the state’s bridges into a state of good repair, only $39 million in federal highway dollars were spent on bridge repair in 2008.
Prioritizing timely road and bridge repair saves money, creates jobs, and can save lives. Putting off needed maintenance can cost taxpayers up to three times as much down the line. Repair projects also create 16 percent more jobs than new highway projects. “While highway builders have long lobbied for more roads and ever-wider highways to boost their profits, we cannot afford to waste scarce taxpayer dollars on new capacity before we fix what we already have,” said RIPIRG Education Fund program associate Ryan Pierannunzi.
“With tight budgets and stubbornly high unemployment, President Obama’s call to repair our infrastructure is on target. Fixing it first saves money, improves safety, and creates jobs, getting the most out of our transportation bucks,” he added.
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