NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new report highlights the sad shape of bridges in Westchester County, Rockland County, and the Hudson Valley.
And it turns out electric cars and fuel-efficient vehicles are driving at least part of the problem, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reportedly.
Built in 1936, the Hillside Avenue Bridge over the Mamaroneck River is due for a major face-lift.
As Aiello saw firsthand on Wednesday, there’s no mortar keeping some blocks in place and the sidewalk has been closed for years, after part of it collapsed into the river below.
Experts say it’s one of the 25 most structurally deficient bridges in the Hudson Valley.
“It’s a question of long-term under-funding,” said John Cooney of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley.
Cooney said the new report is an eye-opener. It analyzes federal data to find 13 percent of locally- and state-maintained bridges in the seven-county Hudson Valley region are rated as poor/structurally deficient. That’s 329 bridges carrying 2.6 million vehicles a day.
MORE: Read The Report
When bridges are in bad shape like this what is the impact on people who use the roads?
“In many ways, it can delay people getting to work. It can also increase the cost of operating a car. But it also can interfere with general transport of commerce,” Cooney said.
Indeed. Heavy trucks are banned from so many local bridges, it forces them to reroute and adds to traffic.
Bridge building and repairs are mostly funded by the federal gas tax — 18.4 cents per gallon. That tax hasn’t gone up since 1993, even as inflation has increased 73 percent.
“There’s also innovation going. We have electric vehicles and we have vehicles that obviously get much higher miles per gallon,” Cooney said.
Greater fuel efficiency means less money from the gas tax. Lawmakers are trying to bridge the partisan divide and engineer a fix in Washington, as time takes a toll on more and more of the spans.
The report shows New York state has almost 1,800 bridges rated poor/structurally deficient. The Federal Highway Administration estimates a $4 billion price tag to fix them all.