Nightly News   |  June 19, 2013

Fixing America’s failing bridges would cost billions

A new report from Transportation for America, less than a month since the Skagit River bridge collapse in Washington State, found more than 66,000 U.S. bridges are structurally deficient. Pennsylvania has the most bridges in need of repair, followed by Oklahoma, Iowa, Rhode Island and South Dakota.  NBC’s John Yang reports.

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>>> a new alarm sounding tonight on the state of the aging infra infrastructure, especially tens of thousands of bridges. and graphic proof of the sorry condition some are in. report tonight from nbc's john yang .

>> reporter: north of seattle today, traffic on i-5 is again crossing this bridge less than a month when the old bridge collapsed on the sauget river. the i-35 w bridge plunged into the mississippi in minneapolis, killing 13 and injuring 35. why are american bridges falling down? a report out today from a transportation advocacy group says we're not fixing aging spans fast enough.

>> we americans will make 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges in this day alone.

>> reporter: citing government numbers, the report says more than 66,000 bridges structurally deficient, more than 1 in 9. they would stretch from denver to washington, d.c. if laid end to end , more than 1,500 miles. the government says the price tag to fix bridges, including chicago 's 85-year-old la salle street bridge, is $76 billion. this year's federal spending on all highway projects? only about $50 billion. chicago has more than 300 bridges and 1$100 million in maintenance projects that need funding.

>> let's face it, sometimes the new construction seems sexier, and in a city like chicago , we have a lot of old infrastructure that we need to rebuild.

>> reporter: despite the gloomy tone, there is a slight drop in the bridges that need repaired according to the government.

>> 2012 , the last year data was available there, were fewer structurally dangerous bridges than previous