Biden administration: Georgia bridges and roads need repair, bill promises funding

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on roads and bridges — in terms of maintenance, repairs and replacement — each year in Georgia.

Monday, the Biden administration released a list of problems in all 50 states and then indicated what the new infrastructure plan, if passed, would do to assist states with projects.

Georgia’s infrastructure received a C+ grade.

According to the list, the Peach State has 374 bridges and over 2,260 miles of highway in poor condition. It adds that since 2011, commute times have increased by about 11% in Georgia and most drivers pay $375 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair.

Kyle Collins from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) says the agency is constantly working on projects to better communities. In the Savannah area, he pointed to the construction of a new drawbridge on Islands Expressway and the huge project now underway at the I-16 and I-95 interchange.

“You see investments across the state and also see the investment at I-16 and I-95 around Savanah and southeast Georgia,” said Collins, “so that money is getting spread out.”

The Biden administration says it could provide up to $600 billion nationwide and $115 billion would be used just for roads and bridges.

Collins says they could always “use more dollars to deliver our obligation to the public,” but at the same time, GDOT is delivering now on projects statewide. He says state funding, plus tax projects statewide, are providing up to $3 billion per year.

“That’s bridge replacements, bridge rehabs and improving paving conditions on interstates and state routes,” he said.

Collins also says in terms of bridges, many are classified as “structurally deficient,” but indicates that doesn’t mean they’re dangerous.

“If they were dangerous, we wouldn’t allow traffic on them. But things have changed since the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when a lot of these structures were built,” said Collins.

Collins says major bridge or road projects can take five to 10 years to plan — and indicates that a reliable source of federal transportation funding could be helpful.

“More stability would be a good thing for us, but we will continue to work with what we have and welcome any new influx that may happen,” said Collins.

The administration also says, as part of its plan, it will offer an $85 billion investment in public transit, saying:

Georgians who take public transportation spend an extra 74.1% of their time commuting and non-White households are 3.9 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 7% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life.

“The infrastructure bill is poised to help us move toward that clean energy future and to deliver massive and well-targeted investments in infrastructure in Georgia transit and transportation to improve our quality of life,” said Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga).

The American Jobs Plan would provide more than $600 billion nationwide to transform the country’s infrastructure, according to the administration.

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has already said he disagrees with the funding formula being proposed, indicating that the state may not get its fair share.

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