As the first anniversary of last August’s Minneapolis bridge collapse nears, the House was slated to vote on a bill to authorize an added $1 billion for deficient bridges nationwide and toughen bridge inspection requirements.
The bill is similar to one the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee cleared last Oct. 31, but it only has a one-year funding authorization, compared with two years in the 2007 measure. Congress already appropriated $1 billion for bridges in 2008. The new bill also adds a pilot program for advanced bridge monitoring and testing technologies. Like the 2007 bill, the new one mandates annual inspections of deficient federal-aid bridges. The federal standard now is every two years, although some states inspect certain spans yearly.