Rochester, NH – In response to the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota and the concerns it has raised around the country, Hillary Clinton today announced a series of emergency initiatives to ensure that the bridges, tunnels, and roads Americans rely on are safe. These initiatives are part of a broad plan for rebuilding America. Hillary’s plan will not only assure our safety, but create good jobs, stimulate the economy, enhance our global competitiveness, help the environment, and improve quality of life by reducing congestion.
“Something is very, very wrong when, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, in the richest country on earth, people are actually nervous about driving over bridges for fear that they’ll collapse. Or they’re worried that their levees may burst, or their highways may buckle. And let’s be clear: the degradation of our infrastructure isn’t just a serious threat to our safety – it is also a grave threat to our economy,” Clinton said. “We do not need any more warnings. We do not need any more wakeup calls. It is time to stop wringing our hands and start rolling up our sleeves. It is time for us to rebuild America.”
The bridge collapse in Minnesota underscores the necessity of a renewed national commitment to repairing and modernizing our infrastructure. The impact of Katrina on New Orleans was also a dramatic demonstration of the economic, environmental, and social consequences of our underinvestment. Hillary believes that we should not have to wait for bridge collapses and other disasters to focus on the state of our infrastructure. America needs a comprehensive infrastructure policy for the 21st Century.
More than a quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. There are 446 non-covered bridges on the “red list” in New Hampshire, including the Sarah Long Bridge and the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, NH. Just yesterday, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation inspected the Sarah Long Bridge. The inspection was moved up two weeks as a result of the Minnesota Bridge collapse. The Memorial Bridge is also a concern for the state and it is 20 years older than the Sarah Long. According to Transportation officials, it was slated to get work done in the near future, but funding has been an issue.
Public transit systems are under-funded and insufficiently integrated into local land use policy. Highway expansion has not kept pace with traffic growth. Seaports are too capacity constrained and technologically inefficient for a nation deriving a quarter of its gross domestic product from international trade. Waterway repairs are so long overdue that half of the nation’s locks are now functionally obsolete. Freight rail capacity constraints are slowing down commerce. And inter-city passenger rail is underdeveloped, meaning increased highway congestion and lost opportunities to create new jobs.
Hillary Clinton is announcing her Rebuild America Plan to address these challenges. (Click to read plan)