In a scathing report on America's infrastructure, the venerable CBS News program 60 Minutes, as part of its Sunday, Nov. 23 broadcast, illustrated in the gravest terms the dire conditions of America's roads and bridges – and indicted congressional inaction on this major issue.
News Correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed Andy Hermann, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers; former transportation secretary Ray LaHood; former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell; Amtrak President Joe Boardman; and others.
"Our infrastructure is on life support right now," LaHood said. "Politicians don't have the political courage" to find a solution to the funding deficit, he said.
"It all comes down to funding," Herman said.
In commenting on the horrible state of bridges in Pennsylvania, Rendell said, "It's a tragedy waiting to happen."
Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) turned down every 60 Minutes request to be interviewed on the issue, as did the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.)
But the failure is a bipartisan one, said Rep. Earle Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a member the House Ways and Means Committee. Blumenauer said during the broadcast that he’s been asking for a hearing on funding for the Highway Trust Fund for 44 months “It has, to this point, not raised to the level of priority for the Republican leadership. Although, in fairness, when the Democrats were in charge, we had a few hearings, but not much action.”
The report also tied in rail and air-traffic concerns to round out the complete picture of an infrastructure in dangerous condition.
In response to the report, The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) urged its members to use this opportunity to reinforce the need for a long-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund with members of Congress. "All NSSGA members need to push Congress to act. Call your representative and both senators to urge them to save the Highway Trust Fund before it’s too late," the association said in a statement.
You can watch the report online at this link.