Infrastructure Makes Prime Time Slot
This Sunday, Nov. 23, CBS’ 60 Minutes will feature an interview with American Society of Civil Engineers Past President Andrew W. Herrmann, P.E. SECB, F.ASCE discussing our nation’s infrastructure deficit while flying via helicopter over Pittsburgh.
The interview is part of a larger piece on the Highway Trust Fund hurtling once again toward insolvency. Tune in or set your DVR to 60 Minutes, which airs at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT, to see ASCE tell the story behind our nation’s bridges.
Below are additional details of the segment.
AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE IS “ON LIFE SUPPORT,” SAYS FORMER TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD. NEARLY 70,000 BRIDGES IN THE UNITED STATES NEED TO BE REPLACED OR SIGNIFICANTLY REPAIRED – “60 MINUTES” SUNDAY
November 21, 2014
Federal Highway Trust Fund – Which Funds Road and Bridge Repair – is Nearly Broke
Ray LaHood, the former U.S. transportation secretary, tells 60 MINUTES many of the roads and bridges we drive on every day are “on life support.” What’s more, nearly 70,000 bridges in the U.S. are deemed structurally deficient. “I don’t want to say they’re unsafe. But they’re dangerous,” says Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation during President Obama’s first term. “Our infrastructure’s on life supports right now. That’s what we’re on,” says LaHood, now co-chair of Building America Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials seeking to increase spending on infrastructure. LaHood speaks to Steve Kroft for a
60 MINUTES report on the state of America’s crumbling infrastructure. It will be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 23 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Watch an excerpt.
60 MINUTES cameras capture the rust and the cracked concrete on bridges across the country, especially in Pennsylvania, where the problem is most acute according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. LaHood says that the broken roads and bridges need to be fixed now, but the Federal Highway Trust Fund, the pot of money states rely on for new construction and maintenance of roads and bridges is just as broken. The Highway Trust Fund is financed by the federal gas tax – about 18 cents per gallon – and it hasn’t been raised in 20 years.
“It’s falling apart because we haven’t made the investments. We haven’t got the money,” says LaHood. “The last time we raised the gas tax, which is how we built the interstate system, was 1993.” LaHood goes on to say “Politicians in Washington don’t have the political courage to say, ‘This is what we have to do.’ That’s what it takes…They don’t want to raise the taxes. They don’t really have a vision of America the way that other Congresses have had a vision of America,” he tells Kroft.
The failure is a bipartisan one says Rep. Earle Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), a member the House Ways and Means Committee, just one of a handful of Committee’s responsible for funding long term transportation bills. Blumenauer says he’s been asking for a hearing on funding for the Highway Trust Fund for 44 months “It has, to this point, not raised to the level of priority for the Republican leadership. Although, in fairness, when the Democrats were in charge, we had a few hearings, but not much action.”