Fixing America's crumbling bridges - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fixing America's crumbling bridges

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(NBC News) The Federal Highway Administration considers one out of every nine bridges in the United States structurally deficient, meaning they need significant repairs, maintenance or replacement. 

With highway funds depleted, Congress is considering another short-term fix, one which former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls a joke. 

"If you raise the gas tax 10 cents a gallon, which is what I'm recommending, you raise a billion dollars a year," LaHood says.

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Still, some think that doesn't make sense with more fuel efficient cars.

One group is proposing a short term, half-cent increase in the gas tax.

"It amounts to a little bit less than three dollars a year per person, the average driver, and it gives us until 2016 to come up with a long term solution," says Florida's Rep. James Renacci.

Engineers say that solution will cost $76 billion just to fix the bridges that need to be repaired or replaced now.

The goal is to come up with a plan that will last four to six years. For decades, there was a dedicated bridge repair fund, but Congress eliminated it three years ago. 

It will give you information about nearby bridges, whether they are in good condition, structurally deficient or what they call "functionally obsolete".
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