A year later, many South Carolina bridges still suck. We look at why.
One year after 13 people lost their lives in the infamous Minneapolis bridge collapse, a solution to our country's aging infrastructure is not close. And South Carolina is perched high on the list of those ailing most. Some $140 billion would be needed to fix up the 1-in-4 ailing bridges in the country, and some $2.9 billion would be needed in South Carolina alone. The Minneapolis Star Tribune did some excellent reporting on the national situation of bridges:
Flicker user eric brandt
The August 1, 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse served as a horrific call to action. That call seems to have dissipated much.Congress also is embarking on legislation to succeed the last major roads bill, passed in 2005; some say the result could be the most important overhaul of the transportation system since the dawn of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.
Fortunately for us in the Charleston area, our old bridges are getting replaced and often expanded for our explosive growth. But it's hard to point our collective finger of blame at the S.C. Department of Transportation as they receive the lowest funding per mile in the nation. The national average is $128,538 per mile, South Carolina spends $31,685 per mile. Ouch. And it can't help that a large portion of the South Carolina recieves more of its funding than most states from motor fuel taxes. Not only are people driving less (thus buying less gas), but S.C. has one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation. But with record-high gas prices and a struggling economy tax hikes of any kind are unpopular, even to keep cars from splashing into the water. So, that's why toll roads could be coming to South Carolina's interstates soon. Suddenly I'm doubly glad to be able to bike to work.
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