The structural failure of a portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge last week, in which a crossbar and two steel rods collapsed and closed the bridge for days, should remind the US about its crumbling infrastructure, according to Transportation for America (T4America).
The article notes that 280,000 vehicles a day crossed the bridge, and that since its closure, commuters have had to squeeze onto commuter buses, ferries, and subways. It notes that Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) experienced record ridership in the week after the bridge closure. Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said Friday, “Thank goodness we had the transit option [in San Francisco].” The San Jose Mercury News reports that BART traffic between Oakland and San Francisco rose almost 50 percent to 83,000 riders, and that overall transit ridership rose 24 percent to 140,000.
Carli Paine, transportation director for a Bay-area group called TransForm, said, “The Bay Bridge closure truly validates California’s decision earlier this year to spend stimulus funding on repair, rather than expansion, of our roadways. Implementing a ‘Fix It First’ policy at the federal level would bolster our state’s efforts to maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure by prioritizing and funding these projects.”
T4America says that Congress could significantly boost this country’s infrastructure through the Critical Asset Investment Program contained in the draft transportation bill. It notes, “This program, drafted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would create a substantial, dedicated funding stream for maintaining roads and bridges, preventing states from diverting those funds to more politically popular highway expansion projects.”
However, the transportation bill keeps getting delayed by healthcare and climate change legislation. The Senate and the Obama administration have been pushing for an 18-month extension of the current transportation bill, while House leaders want a new bill implemented as soon as possible.
(Photo credit: Leonard G)