IN-DEPTH: Texas infrastructure report card

Posted at 1:15 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 14:32:55-04

WACO, Texas — When you take a drive, you expect the road to be safe – but that’s not always the case.

Take bridges for example.

"There are over 800 bridges in poor condition in Texas," said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai in an exclusive interview with 25 News.

Just four out of every 10 bridges in the U.S. are in need of repair work.

Unfortunately, the story is not any better here in Texas.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' infrastructure report card gives bridges in Texas a "B-minus" overall rating.

Texas has more bridges than any other state – and more than one out of every 100 bridges have issues issues of concern with a "key element."

That list includes the South 17th Street bridge over Waco Creek near Mary Avenue.

It is one of 77 bridges in McLennan County that are "structurally deficient" and in poor condition, according to a report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Built in 1960, the South 17th Street bridge has the most traffic of the county’s "structurally deficient" bridges; around 8,000 vehicles cross it every day.

Down in Bell County, US-190 over South Nolan Creek got similar marks. Over 26,000 vehicles cross it each day.

In Robertson County, State Hwy 7 over the Navasota River was also rated "structurally deficient."

While Texas gets a passing grade on bridges, it’s a "D-plus" for our highways — the largest network in the country.

So what is the solution?

Ambassador Katherine Tai believes it's President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan.

"It will rebuild roads and bridges and modernize America's airports rail and public transit system," she said. "This bill provides over $27 billion dollars for bridges and highways in Texas."

But the bill, which passed the Senate last month, could hit a roadblock in the house when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in September.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a two-term Republican serving the state's 21st Congressional District, said it was absurd that 19 Republican senators backed a bill full of progressive measures.

"Massive expansion of Green New Deal policies trying to push to being 80-percent carbon-free by 2030," Roy said. "All of this stuff is the wish list of the progressive Left and The Squad."

In the meantime, we’ll keep a close eye on the infrastructure bill and let you know whether Texas roads and bridges get the funding the Biden administration is promising.