The Corner

Is Our Infrastructure Crumbling?

Yesterday, the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards and I testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the issue of  infrastructure spending. Today, Chris has a good post following up one issue that came up during the hearing: Is our infrastructure crumbling? The answer is: not really.

When I testified to the Joint Economic Committee yesterday, the subject of bridges came up again and again. Numerous people said or implied that our bridges are crumbling and falling down, and that more funding was desperately needed.

The problem with that narrative is that the number of bridges that are in bad shape has been falling steadily over time. The nation’s bridges appear to be in better condition than ever, as indicated by data from the Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA’s inventory of bridges identifies those that are “structurally deficit” and “functionally obsolete.” Definitions for those terms are here.

The chart shows that the share of the 100,000+ bridges in the National Highway System that are either S.D. or F.O. has declined steadily since 1992.  (Hat tips: Randal O’Toole and Matt Fay)

Over at the Washington Post a few weeks ago, Charles Lane also made the case that our infrastructure isn’t crumbling.

My testimony is here.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More
Elections

The Man Who Wasn’t There

At first glance, Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding the spotlight is paying off. He maintains his consistent lead over Donald Trump in national polls. In June, in the aftermath of the Lafayette Park fiasco, his advantage in the RealClearPolitics average expanded to ten points. The critical swing states of ... Read More
Elections

The Man Who Wasn’t There

At first glance, Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding the spotlight is paying off. He maintains his consistent lead over Donald Trump in national polls. In June, in the aftermath of the Lafayette Park fiasco, his advantage in the RealClearPolitics average expanded to ten points. The critical swing states of ... Read More
Economy & Business

What’s an ‘American’ Car?

I’m not too sure about Dmitri’s ode to American cars, because I am not too sure what is an American car. In what sense should a Jeep Compass manufactured in Mexico be thought of as American while a Mercedes GLE made in Alabama isn’t? The answer cannot be corporate ownership: Both companies have ... Read More
Economy & Business

What’s an ‘American’ Car?

I’m not too sure about Dmitri’s ode to American cars, because I am not too sure what is an American car. In what sense should a Jeep Compass manufactured in Mexico be thought of as American while a Mercedes GLE made in Alabama isn’t? The answer cannot be corporate ownership: Both companies have ... Read More