IRVINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An alarming new national report has revealed that many of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient. That includes a large number of spans in the Tri-State Area.
In New York, 1,757 bridges are in disrepair. In Connecticut, 308 made the list. And across New Jersey, 544 have a key element that is in poor or worse condition, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday.
A bridge over the Garden State Parkway near Springfield and Clinton avenues in Irvington is not only one of the most traveled, it’s also one of the most structurally deficient bridges in New Jersey.
It was built in 1953 and more than 76,000 cars cross it each day. The concrete piers below need major repairs from moisture and salt damage.
“It makes me feel like they are wasting my tax dollars,” Manny Robinson of Union told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
According to the report, it is one of more than 500 bridges in the state that is in dire need of repair. So CBS2’s Baker asked Gov. Phil Murphy what’s being done about it.
“The gas tax money was supposed to go towards fixing roads, bridges, rail projects … where is that money being spent and why are these bridges not a priority?” Baker asked.
“So I only know the top line. I understand it’s a better number than it was five years ago and I take little or no solace in that,” Murphy said. “So we gotta get at that and we’re digging out of hole that we got left and we will continue to dig out.”
Despite a slight improvement, New Jersey still has some of the worst bridges in the country. Transportation expert Janna Chernetz said old infrastructure in a dense state with a lot of wear and tear from drivers doesn’t help.
“In 2016 the number of deficient bridges was over 600. That number is slowly decreasing, but as bridges come off that list, new bridges come on,” Chernetz said.
But where are your gas tax dollars going?
“The gas tax was increased 2016 and that was after the Transportation Trust Fund was bankrupt. All of the money that was going in there was going to pay for debt and that was debt caused by irresponsible funding practices in prior years and prior administrations. That has not gone away,” Chernetz said.
The governor said he will make an announcement Friday about significant Department of Transportation funding.
Chernetz said the gas tax will need to be revisited, especially as driving habits change and more and more electric vehicles hit the road. Those drivers don’t pay a gas tax, which could pose a big problem going forward.