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Infrastructure Committee member Hahn calls for Congressional hearing on bridge safety

“Leaving these bridges in their current state of disrepair poses a grave threat not only to our safety, but to our economy,” Rep. Janice Hahn said. “By holding a hearing focusing on the state of our nation’s bridges, we can begin to address the problem.”

The Trucker News Services

5/30/2013

Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is calling for Congress to hold a hearing on bridge safety when legislators return next week from recess, news sources report.

Her request follows two high-profile bridge collapses, most notably the I-5 Washington state bridge collapse last week.

Hahn sent a letter to House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., saying that the panel should make bridge safety a priority in light of the nation’s high number of at-risk bridges.

“As you know, last week, a truck carrying an oversize load crashed into a section of the Interstate 5 bridge in Washington state — a bridge that was classified by the Department of Transportation as structurally obsolete — causing it to collapse,” Hahn wrote in reference to the Skagit River bridge collapse.

She continued that “We are lucky that there were not any fatalities. With over 70,000 bridges that have been classified as ‘structurally deficient’ nationwide, it is clear we have an infrastructure crisis in this country and it is only a matter of time before another bridge collapses and lives could be lost.”

She said the Washington state accident, which was followed by the collapse of a bridge in Missouri, should lead Congress to provide more infrastructure funding.

“I believe that we need to examine our nation’s investment in bridges,” Hahn said in the letter. She also asked Shuster if the MAP-21 bill was the best funding mechanism for fixing bridges that need it most or “do we need targeted investment?”

Hahn noted that she recently introducted H.R. 1419, “which would provide critical funding to states to repair or replace bridges that have been deemed ‘structurally deficient’ by the Federal Highway Administration,” she stated in the letter.

“Leaving these bridges in their current state of disrepair poses a grave threat not only to our safety, but to our economy,” Hahn said. “By holding a hearing focusing on the state of our nation’s bridges, we can begin to address the problem.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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