• Sep 28, 2011
Indiana governor Mitch Daniels was forced to close the Sherman Minton Bridge over the Ohio River last week. The 50-year-old structure connects Indiana with Kentucky via Interstate 64, and after years of overuse, the bridge has deteriorated significantly.

Inspectors recently discovered a large crack in the main load-bearing element of the bridge, and structural engineers quickly recommended closing the structure to traffic. Before the closure, 75,000 vehicles flowed between Albany, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky every day. Now those vehicles are being forced onto already over-crowded alternate routes.

The Sherman Minton Bridge has become a symbol of our nation's rapidly-deteriorating infrastructure (see also: I-35 bridge in Minneapolis), and President Barack Obama has used it as an example of exactly how America needs to focus on shoring up its innards. As a result, the president has unveiled the American Jobs Act – legislation designed to put people back to work while giving infrastructure the attention it's been lacking over the past four decades. Here's hoping it works.


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  • 142 Comments
      tyler
      • 3 Years Ago
      The said thing is, until more people lose their lives, nobody will care enough to stand up and really do something. (I'm not just talking about political figures visiting places and making speeches to rouse up interest in their own agenda.) America has the oldest well-developed infrastructure in the world. We built our infrastructure before we bombed and rebuilt everyone else's. China is building bridges absolutely everywhere (and many of them in the most ridiculous places). In 50-100 years, they will be in the same or worse shape than we are now. The lesson is to never build something you cannot maintain. Stimulus should ONLY come as capital investment, NEVER operations/maintenance relief. Building bigger/wider roads and more bridges will only cost us more to maintain in the future. REPLACING infrastructure with that of better design, lower maintenance/operating cost, and longer life is the smart way to continue. It's painful to see people bicker about how much it costs to do things 'these days,' yet only to see it cost more tomorrow. The near future of America is going to be very tough, and I fear that a lot of people don't know how to and don't want to face it.
        Susan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tyler
        "The lesson is to never build something you cannot maintain." Excellent analogy to "never buy a car you can't afford to maintain." I see a lot of jokers buy BMWs and Mercedes who think they deserve to move up from Japanese or Korean cars, and I want to ask them, "Did you really think this through? Do you have any idea how much this costs to maintain properly?"
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        mikey683
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yea nick there will because these ******** don't want to pay taxes anymore.
          Kimithechamp
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mikey683
          Mikey, have you heard a single person you despise actually say they don't want ANY taxes at all? You're the ******* ********.
        Kimithechamp
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yup, not alarmist at all, and definitively based in fact.
      MAX
      • 3 Years Ago
      The plutocracy that runs both parties doesn't care, they use helicopters. The roads in Metro Atlanta got a lot of stimulus help. South Carolina turned the money down and has the worst and most unsaferoads of any southern state.
      Shane
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, my hometown actually made news on Autoblog! Seriously though, this has caused unbelievable headaches for everyone in and around the Louisville area. I'm just happy I live and work in Indiana and don't have to deal with it on a daily basis.
      MIKE*MARY
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its actually New Albany, Indiana. Not Albany.
      kingrat001
      • 3 Years Ago
      The streets around here, Toledo, Oh, are a mess. Lots of bad pothole patches, waiting for the first frost/thaw cycle to start coming out. Last fall, I hit a huge pothole that had appeared overnight and was about 6" deep, causing my alignment to be all messed up and it I soon had to buy a tire. It took weeks of my calling to get them to fix it. I wasn't the only one, the local TV stations were just about to do a story on it when it was fixed. Then there are the many bridges in "poor" condition, but supposedly safe to drive on that are all over the state. I have my doubts some of them really are OK, but I take my chances on them. I would gladly pay another $.25 a gallon to get the important stuff fixed.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      A dramatic, and pathetic example of our crumbling infrastructure that has been neglected for decades now. Obama tried to push for a rebuilding of this country by investing in our infrastructure, which would have been perfect to push the economy forward, but clueless groups like the Teabaggers think that any gob'ment spending is bad, so as more and more roads and bridges close to a deteriorating conditions, go thank a Teabagger for once again screwing over this country.
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        It wasn't that long ago when President Clinton and congress passed a huge highway bill to repair "our crumbling infrastructure" costing multiple billions. What happened to that money? Did all that "crumbling infrastructure" go bad again after less than 20 years? I don't mind paying for the work but why does this come up every so many years and the politicians act like we been ignoring it for "decades"? By the way you got to get over your Tea Party hate. They didn't ignore the infrastructure or fail to fix it the first time (or second, or third...). Your wonderful government knows best did. If the government continues to spend the country into oblivion an old bridge will be the least of your worries.
          Zoom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          Clinton did not pass an infrastructure stimulus bill. Cite the bill, if you must. If you're talking about the normal transportation bill (ISTEA, TEA-21), ok, but that's not the same thing. And yes, Clinton was the last to raise the gas tax, by 4 cents, and it was wholly inadequate to keep up with inflation, let alone the increasingly deteriorating status of our infrastructure.
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          Look at what ZOOM posted. That was a NORMAL highway bill... you know, the kind of bills that *SHOCK* need to get passes rather periodically, just to get ANYTHING done, let alone actually going back and building up our infrastructure. We are living with a road and bridge system that (for the most part) was designed in the 50s, build in the 60s and had 60s-era traffic needs in mind and was designed with a ~30 year lifespan. We are welllll past that point and all we are doing is patching up the system instead up bringing it up to new Millennium standards. We had the PERFECT opportunity to get that system going - we needed the work to get done, and we had the excuse that the economy was done. There was no better time, nor reason to do it, but as usual the right-wingers put the kabosh in any kind of investment in America's future.
        protovici
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Hummmm, I think someone needs to take a look or another look at what Obama has spent tax payer dollars on. I see many items that could have been left to the private sector. Have you checked the latest dollar amount Obama has spent?? If I bring in $1, but spend $5, do I have a deficit of $4??? If you can answer this question you have your answer to the infrasture problem. Second issue is employment and how does infrasture jobs create long-term growth. I dont remeber ever seing an answer to that?
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @protovici
          You've obviously never heard the phrase "you have to spend money to make money". When you are in a recession and the general public isn't spend the money to get the economy going, then an entity such as the government has to step in and start that pump going or else you'll continue to have an idling economy with nothing really improving - CASE IN POINT: the economy over the last couple of years ever since the reinvestment programs that should have been passed, were dramatically scaled back to appease short-sighted right-wingers. And on your long-term jobs issue - the original US highway act in the 50s lasted for 20 years building up our original HW system. We have let our infrastructure (and not just roads and bridges) fall so far behind, that we probably have that many years of rebuilding it up to modern standards. Is a couple of decades not good enough for you?
      Robert Kyle
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mitch Daniels....what do you expect? This GOP nerd would rather have the whole state fall into disrepair than spend any tax dollars on it. GOP can create huge deficits for years, but now b/c a black man is in office, can't spend a dime. Give more to the wealthy.
        tagg8019
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Robert Kyle
        Wow, the race card. Good argument Rev. Sharpton. Stupidity knows no difference in race, gender or nationality. Your fellow dems have run the city of Detroit for 40 years. With massive city debt, rampant crime, corruption, crumbling streets and buildings along with a rapdily declining population I would say that it hasn't worked.
        jbphoto
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Robert Kyle
        If you lived here, you would realize two important things. 1) Our infrastructure for the most part is in great shape. I commute I-74 between Indy and Cincinnati about once a week and the road is pretty near perfect. Same goes for downtown Indianapolis, although that's partially due to tidying up for the Super Bowl. 2) What deficit? We have had a balanced budget since 2005. Not once has the state had a deficit, but rather we've had a surplus most years before the financial blowout in 2008, although that's starting to come back too (tax revenues are beating expectations. Additionally, instead of wasting that surplus on frivolous spending, the governor has worked to make sure money that is above 10% (I believe that's the number, might be off a bit) of the budget is to be returned back to the taxpayers, as it wasn't the government's money to begin with. Research before you dribble off inaccurate filth.
        LEDfoot
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Robert Kyle
        Wow, he can't spend a dime?! REALLY?! You are complaining that Obama hasn't been able to spend any money? SRSLY?
      theweegeean
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another fine example of why we have an antigovernment movement in the U.S. Here's how it works: 1.) People ask "Why do I have to pay taxes?" 2.) Government lowers taxes to placate people, and therefore cannot maintain infrastructure. 3.) Infrastructure collapses. 4.) People get angry about failure of government to maintain infrastructure. 5.) People ask, "Why am I paying taxes to a government that can't even keep the roads maintained? Clearly, this is because our government is ineffective. If only it wouldn't spend so much money on unnecessary things, like helping poor people, or public schools for poor welfare moms. Cut my taxes, and stop helping people who need to pull myself up by their bootstraps." 6.) Government cuts help for poor people, public schools, public healthcare. 7.) People ask "Why can't our children read? Why are we falling behind other industrialized nations? Why can't government fund my social security? Why can't..." The logic some people use is mind boggling.
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theweegeean
        If money was the answer to everything this would be a paradise on earth after the 16 trillion (and counting) that we have spent and borrowed. But it isn't and so it's not. The greatest impact on a child's education is the parents not the teachers salary or how much $ the school system spends per student.
          The Other Bob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          Frank - you are the most uniformed person on this blog. Do some research. Here is a good chart that will tell you where our deficit originated. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-chart-that-should-accompany-every-discussion-of-deficits/238786/ Since you are probably too lazy to read it, I will break it down for you. In a short amount of time, the stimulus will no longer contribute to the debt, but the rest of our deficit is created from the following: -2 ongoing wars -tax cuts created in the previous admin -TARP -Impact of the recession -the small amount left to be spent fromt he stimulus Without these factors, there would be no deficit. You can knock the current administartion (and congress) for deficit spending, but the culprit is not the new spending recently created, it is the fact the current government has not undone what was done in previous admin fast enough.
          brian
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          Too bad so much of it was spent on a few wars...
          Frank
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          During the first year of the Obama Administration more money was spent than Bush spent in 6 years in Iraq.
        AngeloD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theweegeean
        When exactly was the Federal gas tax lowered? And when were the Federal social welfare entitlement programs cut? The whole premise of your argument is a fantasy. You're dreaming.
        nsxrules
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theweegeean
        Another fine example of why we have an antigovernment movement in the U.S. Here's how it works: 1.) People ask "Why do I have to pay taxes?" 2.) So we can support infrastructure 3.) Infrastructure collapses. 4.) People get angry about failure of government to maintain infrastructure. 5.) People ask, "Why am I paying taxes to a government that can't even keep the roads maintained? Clearly, this is because our government is ineffective. If only it wouldn't spend so much money on unnecessary things, like $16 muffins, $250 hair cuts, etc. etc. 6.) Government gives contracts to teachers unions as opposed to improving TEACHING. 7.) People ask "Why can't our children read? Why are we falling behind other industrialized nations? Why can't government fund my social security? Why can't..." The logic some people use is mind boggling.
      CruzControl
      • 3 Years Ago
      We all know who's to blame for this *coughs* GOP...
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CruzControl
        If by "we" you mean the uninformed, then you are correct.
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CruzControl
        Oh let guess - it's Bush's fault right? He put some kind of juju on Obama so he couldn't find any "shovel ready" jobs to spend his FIRST trillion on. Now 4 trillion later he sees the light? This time he's gonna spend the money on something real? Are you that gullible?
          The Other Bob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          What $4 Trillion is that? The stimulus was just less than $800 B and 30% was tax cuts. Of all the debt of today, most can be attributed to previous administrations programs. $1.4 T of it can be attributed to this adminsitration.
      Luke Barreto
      • 3 Years Ago
      The current administration was already allowed to spend a trillion dollars on so-called "shovel-ready projects" which was later laughed at by the president for not being as "shovel-ready as we had hoped". So don't go blaming conservatives for not allowing enough spending on infrastructure. As a side note, I'm tired of autoblog posting politically-biased stories like this. I come here for automotive news, not an agenda.
        axiomatik
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Luke Barreto
        1/3 of the stimulus bill was tax cuts, not spending. Another large chunk was used to keep state and local governments from going bankrupt. Unfortunately, only $200 billion was for actual infrastructure.
      AngeloD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why couldn't the hundreds of billions of dollars that are collected in gas taxes for the US Interstate Highway Trust Fund every year go towards repairing this bridge before now? Why do we need to allow Obama to waste another trillion? What happened to all the money from the last stimulus package? Fool me once...
        Anon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AngeloD
        NOW all of a sudden people (ie; republicans) are concerned about the government wasting money. where were people like you when bush was wasting FOUR trillion+ on pointless wars????
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anon
          [blocked]
          Zoom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anon
          Uh Butterfly... our action in Libya (spell it right) was minimal. No troops on the ground. And it's over. And what now? Oh, the regime is gone. The country is going to rebuild itself. We are out of there. What would I rather have? 8 years and trillions in Iraq. Or a couple of months and not much $$ in Libya. For the same result...? Get a clue. Iraq did not attack us.
          nsxrules
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anon
          Butterfly, excellent point. And the high BELIEVABLE estimates for the wars is $1 trillion each ($2 trillion total) and lets not forget that one of the countries attacked us in an act of war.
          axiomatik
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Anon
          Frank - it's not like the Gaddafi regime was exactly friendly either. Whatever replaces him, we could hardly do worse.
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AngeloD
        You have no clue. The highway trust fund moneys are dedicated to FHWA, but the amount it's collecting is declining more and more every year. There's simply NOT ENOUGH in it to pay for the repairs. States use the money from the HTF to do maintenance and repairs. The stimulus package passed three years ago was $800B, sure, but 1/3 of that was tax cuts (we see how well those have worked for us), 1/3 went to keep states afloat, and just another third was actual spending. Less than $100B was for actual infrastructure. What we need is a $1T+ infrastructure stimulus bill. We need to actually repair and replace all bridges, repave, not just resurface, thousands of miles of roads, repair our crumbling transit systems, that millions rely on each day. And NO TAX CUTS. They haven't worked. At All!
          Zoom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          @SNP: I like your thinking on far-out research. But then you have to deal with failures, like solar firms, which use govt-backed loans to test out new ideas. Without those tests, we won't have breakthroughs. The private sector will not finance high-risk endeavors, and if we're not willing to fund these ventures as a society, accepting the risks, we're setting ourselves up to be consumers of technology instead of produces. This line of reasoning should shut up the solyndra complainers. Still, we need to stay competitive, we still need to spend a lot of money on infrastructure. And I bet you we could easily come up with $1T for infrastructure: we've got several billion in my small state alone in backlogged highway and transit maintenance. Not to mention debt from previous infrastructure projects which is eating away at maintenance budgets.
          lasertekk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Gotta spend money to get results. No taxes, no money, no results.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          [blocked]
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