Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Transportation News

Bridges in Trouble

Many bridges in the Unites States are reaching the end of their design life. Nationally, 12 percent of bridges are functionally obsolete, meaning they were built to a standard no longer used today, and 13 percent are structurally deficient, meaning they have deteriorated load bearing members or narrow waterway openings that cause intolerable congestion. The number of bridges, their age, and the increasing cost of construction and maintenance is putting a strain on state and municipalities responsible for maintaining the transportation system, which pay for about 37 percent of the cost of bridge rehabilitation and repair (AASHTO).

As states are inspecting their bridges, the federal government is scrutinizing its bridge programs. There is a growing expectation of linking federal expenditures to performance (GAO-08-1043, 08-1127T).

Passenger Vehicles and Climate Change

A cost placed on carbon dioxide emissions is expected to have little impact on the behaviors of individual drivers. Driver adaptions to recent increases in gasoline prices have been small. In addition, new fuel economy standards are expected to have a greater impact on emissions from passenger vehicles than a small price increase from a carbon dioxide charge (CBO 2008).

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