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One in 9 bridges still “structurally deficient” as average age nears 50 years

June 20, 2013 Comments off

One in 9 bridges still “structurally deficient” as average age nears 50 years
Source: Transportation for America

One in nine of the bridges and overpasses American drivers cross each day is rated in poor enough condition that some could become dangerous or be closed without near-term repair, according to an updated analysis of federal data released today by Transportation for America.

Nearly 67,000 of the nation’s 605,000 bridges are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to bridge inspections analyzed in The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges 2013. Nearly 8,000 are both structurally deficient and “fracture critical”, meaning they are designed with no redundancy in their key structural components, so that if one fails the bridge could collapse. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the backlog of troubled bridges would cost $76 billion to eliminate.

The report ranks states and the District of Columbia in terms of the overall condition of the their bridges, with one having the largest share of deficient bridges, 51 the lowest. Twenty-one states have a higher percentage of deficient bridges than the national average of 11 percent. The five states with the worst bridge conditions have a share over 20 percent: Pennsylvania has the largest share of deteriorating bridges (24.5%), followed by Oklahoma (22.0%), Iowa (21.7%), Rhode Island (21.6%), and South Dakota (20.3%).

At the other end of the spectrum, five states have less than 5 percent of their bridges rated structurally deficient: Nevada and Florida lead the rankings with 2.2%, followed by Texas (2.6%), Arizona (3.2%), and Utah (4.3%).

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Thinking Outside the Farebox: Creative Approaches to Financing Transit Projects

June 5, 2013 Comments off

Thinking Outside the Farebox: Creative Approaches to Financing Transit Projects

Source: Transportation for America

The demand for public transportation service is at its highest point in 50 years. The causes are many: rising gas prices, an increasingly urbanized population, growing numbers of seniors, and the preferences of the “millennial” generation. These factors and more are contributing to soaring ridership on existing transit routes. And more communities of all sizes today are looking for funds to build and operate rail and bus lines than ever before.

A combination of ideological gridlock in Congress, dwindling federal gas tax revenues, and the elimination of earmarks have made the traditional approaches to building transit much more challenging. Yet despite these obstacles, many communities are finding creative ways to move ahead.

This guidebook is designed to help community leaders get from Point A—the desire to meet the demand for transit—to Point B—raising the money needed to build and operate it.

Growing public interest in transit is leading many communities to look for ways to expand their offerings, but as more communities seek to develop or expand transit systems, the already over-subscribed traditional federal programs for transit won’t be able to fund every project seeking assistance. To make the money go further, the New Starts transit program has recently covered one-half of project costs, down from 80 percent, with some projects getting as little as one-third of their required total. Even with this policy in effect the waiting list grows longer every year.

But all is not lost. There are ways to pay for new transit investments without waiting so long, and a growing number of communities are pursuing them. But doing so requires more sophistication in the art of project finance than has been needed in the past.

Someday—soon, we hope—the federal government may respond to the high level of demand for new transit investments by increasing funding available to communities. Those of us who aspire to provide these options for people in our communities must continue to work toward that goal. In the meantime, though, we can demonstrate the depth of the need and the strength of our desire by finding our own creative ways to make these projects happen.

This guidebook is a first step toward that goal. Download it for free today.

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options

October 28, 2011 Comments off

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options
Source: Transportation for America

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

Aging in Place, Stuck without Options ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation.

+ Full Report (PDF)

New Report Ranks Deficient Bridges by Metro Areas

October 20, 2011 Comments off

New Report Ranks Deficient Bridges by Metro Areas
Source: Transportation for America

On the heels of the sudden closure of a major commuting bridge in Louisville, KY, a new report shows that more than 18,000 of the nation’s busiest bridges, clustered in the nation’s metro areas, are rated as “structurally deficient,” according to this new report from Transportation for America.

In Los Angeles, for example, an average 396 drivers cross a deficient bridge every second, the study found. The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges, ranks 102 metro areas in three population categories based on the percentage of deficient bridges.

The report found that Pittsburgh, PA had the highest percentage of deficient bridges (30.4 percent) for a metro area with a population of over 2 million (and overall). Oklahoma City, OK (19.8 percent) topped the chart for metro areas between 1-2 million, as did Tulsa, OK (27.5 percent) for metro areas between 500,000-1 million.

At the other end of the spectrum, the metro areas that had the smallest percentage of deficient bridges are: Orlando, FL (0.60 percent) for the largest metro areas; Las Vegas (0.20 percent) for mid-sized metro areas; and Fort Myers, FL (0.30 percent) for smaller metro areas.

+ Full Report (PDF)

See also: The Nation’s Busiest Bridges

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options

June 16, 2011 Comments off

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options
Source: Transportation for America

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

Aging in Place, Stuck without Options ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation.

The analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology evaluates metro areas within each of five size categories. It shows that in just four years, 90 percent of seniors in metro Atlanta will live in neighborhoods with poor access to options other than driving, the worst ranking among metro areas with populations over 3 million. In that size category, metro Atlanta is followed by the Riverside-San Bernardino, CA metro area, along with Houston, Detroit and Dallas. Kansas City tops the list for metros of 1-3 million, followed by Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham.

The transportation issues of an aging America are national in scope, and cash-strapped state and local governments will be looking for federal support in meeting their needs. As Congress prepares this summer to adopt a new, long-term transportation authorization, this report outlines policies to help ensure that older Americans can remain mobile, active and independent.

+ Full Report (PDF)

New report highlights mounting challenge of aging bridges

May 4, 2011 Comments off

New report highlights mounting challenge of aging bridges
Source: Transportation for America

One in nine of the bridges and overpasses American drivers cross each day is rated in poor enough condition that they could become dangerous or be closed without near-term repair, according to a report released today by Transportation for America.

Nearly 70,000 bridges nationwide are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to federal data. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that the backlog of potentially dangerous bridges would cost $70.9 billion to eliminate, while the federal outlay for bridges amounts to slightly more than $5 billion per year.

The report, The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges, ranks states in terms of the overall condition of the state’s bridges, with one being the worst, 51 being the best. Twenty-three states across the country have a higher percentage of deficient bridges than the national average of 11.5 percent.

The five states with the worst bridge conditions have over 20 percent structurally deficient bridges: Pennsylvania has the largest share of deteriorating bridges at 26.5 percent, followed by Oklahoma (22.0%), Iowa (21.7%), Rhode Island (21.6%), and South Dakota (20.3%).

At the other end of the spectrum, five states have less than 5 percent of their bridges rated structurally deficient: Nevada leads the rankings at 2.2 percent, followed by Florida (2.4%), Texas (3.0%), Arizona (3.0%), and Utah (4.5%). The table on the bottom of the main report page shows all 50 states and the District of Columbia ranked by their percentage of structurally deficient bridges, with “1” being the worst conditions and “51” the best.

+ Full Report

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