National League of Cities: More Federal Funding Needed to Repair Infrastructure
NLC Second Vice President Kathleen Novak, mayor of Northglenn, Colo., said that cities and towns are striving to maintain and improve their highways and bridges, but they are struggling to fill the gap left by state and federal funding.
“The shortfall is too large for local governments to make up on our own, ” Novak testified.
According to Novak, in her home state of Colorado, 4,790 bridges are owned by cities and counties and 3,757 are under state responsibility. Colorado has a transportation budget of $1 billion, Novak pointed out, but cities and counties contribute $1.3 billion as well.
“Of the nearly 7 percent of the interstate system bridges that are structurally deficient, one Denver span is traveled by more than 139,000 motorists each day,” Novak said. “ … Allowing our bridges to deteriorate is a national calamity waiting to happen.”
“D” Grades Won’t Cut It
Novak noted that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of “D.”
“Having just sent a child off to college, I wouldn’t be satisfied with that outcome, nor should our nation,” Novak said.
NLC, which is an advocacy group representing 19,000 U.S. cities, towns and villages, in January announced that increased transportation funding for local governments would be a priority issue in its work with Congress this year. To that end, NLC said that it has been reauthorizing federal surface transportation programs and working with members of Congress to ensure that these programs focus on safety, congestion relief, protecting air quality, increasing energy efficiency and conservation and enhanced accountability for the billions of dollars spent each year.