NORWALK, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) visited Norwalk’s deteriorated Yankee Doodle Bridge on Monday to highlight the urgent need for long-term federal transportation investments to create jobs and improve the safety and efficiency of Connecticut's transit and highway networks.
Of the state’s 4,218 bridges, 1,472 are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. If the Highway Trust Fund becomes insolvent, up to 700,000 jobs could be lost nationwide, Himes said.
“The Highway Trust Fund is absolutely vital to Southwest Connecticut's economy and safety, and keeping it solvent is a basic responsibility. But we can no longer afford short-term fixes that inevitably cause more uncertainty and push us from crisis to crisis,” he said in a statement.
“Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is the bedrock on which we build economic growth and create jobs. We need a long-term transportation bill that invests in our crumbling bridges, roads and railways to ensure the safety of our people and make our economy more competitive.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $10.8 billion measure last week to temporarily replenish the Highway Trust Fund through May 2015, and a similar bill awaits action in the Senate.
Himes said he supported the short-term fix because it would avert an immediate crisis that could jeopardize 9,612 jobs in Connecticut and delay 1,630 active highway and transit projects across the state.
The Federal Highway Administration has estimated that for every $1 billion invested in federal highway and bridge construction, almost 30,000 jobs are created.