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For sixty years, and maybe more, there have been those in either the press or politics that claim America's roads and bridges are disintegrating and the end is near. Yet I have lived in multiple regions of the country, in both dense and sparse populations, and if there's any impression I've had is that there is a very sustained, robust, and aggressive effort to maintain roads and bridges. In fact, it's something that has always amazed me as a visual indication of the magnitude and strength of the economy. Is there reliable data over this period that actually shows a downward trend? If there is, it's not referenced in this article.



The only statistics I ever see cited are those of the American Society of Civil Engineers, an interest group with a vested interest in increased infrastructure funding. I'm not hostile to the idea that we should spend more on maintenance, but I agree that we need some data from a less obviously compromised source. And that is setting aside the problem that increased funding has self-evidently not resulted in better quality of infrastructure. Kickbacks and corruption are rampant in that sector, a fact made clear recently in my hometown and county, which has seen a raft of corruption indictments and convictions related to public works projects over the last few years.


I can understand your skepticism, but the ASCE is a long-standing, globally respected professional association for credentialed civil engineers - the annual infrastructure report cards they issue are based on the field surveys that not only ASCE member engineers but that various local government and non-government bodies from all around the country take part in and carry out as well.

If you say that you don't want to trust data compiled and reviewed by an association of civil engineers, then you should probably stop using ADA approved toothpaste and cease getting those AMA recommended medical check-ups.

I hope that didn't come across too harshly, but there seems to be a wave of anti-intellectualism that has been spreading across the US. Obviously that sentiment has formed in no small part due to actual abuses that have been carried out by those with vested interests, but we need to be careful that we don't take what would otherwise be a healthy skepticism of the actions and proscriptions of organizations too far and mis-trust all professional organizations or everything that they publish...


It's not "anti-intellectualism" to be skeptical of the word of someone who stands to directly benefit from the course of action they recommend. I'm quite sure that the ASCE is a fine organization populated by conscientious and well-meaning people, but there's a reason why scientists use double-blind studies, and why judges recuse themselves from cases in which they have an interest.

I agree that we shouldn't take skepticism of expertise too far, and I'm rather baffled at how you'd attribute the sentiment you're denouncing to my comment. What I want is more evidence from more sources. Only the most uncharitable reading of my point would conclude I'm advocating any srt of anti-intellectualism.


A lot of transportation infrastructure is not maintained using federal funds, so the upkeep on bridges and roads varies a lot from state to state and even from city to city. Some larger cities may be able to put enough funds to maintain a bridge, but for smaller cities it may not be a high priority. Your experience may be an outlier in this regard.


2007: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mississippi_River_bridge

75000 other bridges had the same "structurally deficient" classification in 2007. The I-35 bridge was at the 4th percentile for structural sufficiency when rated with 100000 bridges in 2005.

We are sending out engineers every year to look at bridges, and every year they are very nervous when turning in their reports. Whether things get fixed or not is often due to the economic situation at the time the report is made, and the local political will.

What I'm mainly worried about is dams, not bridges: https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/commun...





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