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Letters: State of the nation's bridges

September 08, 2013

Re "Bridge repair funds come up short," Sept. 4

While The Times does a great job of capturing the daunting funding shortfalls facing our nation's infrastructure, some of the alarmist rhetoric is wholly misinformed. Yes, our nation's infrastructure is in need of repair, but it is not unsafe.

When a bridge is deemed in poor shape, engineers do what is necessary to protect the public. They increase inspections, change load requirements or even close the bridge.

In the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Report Card on America's Infrastructure, bridges received a grade of C+, as the number of structurally deficient bridges is actually on the decline and cities and states prioritize repairs even with limited resources.

California — and our nation as a whole — needs leadership and honest debate about our infrastructure issues to move forward.

Jennifer Epp

San Luis Obispo

The writer is a regional director for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Our "leaders" in Washington missed a win-win-win situation.

By funding an all-out effort to make needed repairs to our bridges, lawmakers could have created thousands of jobs. And if bonds had to be sold to fund this work, they would have been sold at the lowest interest rates in decades.

James Nelson

Stanton

Not to diminish the need for physical bridge repair across our country (and sidewalk repair locally), I'd say our nation has a foremost need to repair bipartisan bridges.

It seems as if we've become so unfamiliar with the process that when bipartisan support is built, it tends to be heavy-handed and wasteful instead of creative and effective for the long term. Could it be because we're too used to fighting and not adept at building peace?

John Wallbank

Venice

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