Both President Trump and California Governor Brown agree that fixing our infrastructure should be a top priority to grow the economy and create millions of good paying jobs. But, after every collapse or major failure, we keep saying we need to fix our bridges.
We fix what breaks, but then when is comes to preventing failures, we also keep saying, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
In the last ten years, about 1100 new California bridges and overpasses have been built such as this new Napa River Bridge 13 months ago. Almost 600 have undergone major reconstruction. Nonetheless, the state has identified needed repairs on 4100 more structures at a cost of $13 billion.
In his State of the State address 13 months ago, Governor Jerry Brown proposed increasing car registration fees and gas taxes, to pay for an estimated $77 Billion in needed repairs to not just our bridges, but our ravaged roadways as well.
"We need to bite the bullet and enact new fees and new taxes for this purpose," said California Governor Jerry Brown. What's happened since then? "We still don't have the money we need to maintain the existing system that we have in California and we need sustainable funding to maintain our infrastructure," said Carrie Bowen, Caltrans District 7 Director.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates that about 5% of California's 25,000 bridges are "structurally deficient." What that means is that about 1400 bridges in the Golden State have some sort of structural defect that is so bad that they're rated "poor" or worse. Nationally, 56,000 structurally deficient bridges are crossed by 200 million cars, trucks and buses.
To put that in a more understandable light, if put end to end, those 56,000 deficient bridges would stretch all the way from San Francisco, half way to New York City, almost 2700 miles away.
"As the old saying goes: anybody who says you can't fix a problem by throwing money at it, is talking about somebody else's problem," says Congressman Mike Thompson, (D) Napa.
This is a problem for all of us and we need to throw tons of money at it. So, how much just to fix or replace the existing deficient bridges? $1130 per California household.