Structurally Deficient Bridges: Best and Worst Congressional Districts

5 Districts with No Deficient Bridges

Last week, we released a report finding that all but five members of the House of Representatives – Rep. Joe Heck (NV-3), Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12) and Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-9) have at least one structurally deficient bridge in their Congressional district. Leaving 430 of 435 congressional districts having structurally deficient bridges. This is everyone’s problem.

To recap what makes a bridge structurally deficient:
What makes a bridge deficient

In the map below you can see, Americans living in a district with structurally sound bridges. No your eyes are not deceiving you, it is a very small percentage of the population.

5 Districts with No Deficient Bridges

Now for the really bad news, 11% of congressional districts account for over half of our nation’s deficient bridges. If you break down the numbers from these districts (shown in the interactive map below) you will find more than 300 deficient bridges per district and more than 32,000 structurally deficient bridges in total. Rep. Steve King (IA-4) ranks worst district with over 2,300 deficient bridges in just one Congressional district.

At the rate the government is fixing bridges it would take two years alone to fix the bridges in only Rep. King’s district. This wouldn’t touch Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3) with 2,074 deficient bridges, Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-3) with 1,838 deficient bridges or Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-1) with 1,393 deficient bridges. As you can see the time it will take to fix these bridges really adds up if we continue to only fix 5,000 bridges every four years.

50 Worst Districts by Number

In many states – Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – there are at least 3 districts with more than 300 deficient bridges. 45 of these districts are represented by Republicans.


50 Worst Districts by # of Deficient Bridges

Structurally Deficient Bridges by Congressional District

Looking just at the number of deficient bridges per district doesn’t tell the entire story. Another way to look at the data is the percentage of bridges in each district that are structurally deficient. The map below shows the location of the 50 worst districts based on the percentage of structurally deficient bridges to structurally sound bridges. For instance Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) at 29% has the third worst district based on the percentage of structurally deficient bridges, there are a total of 99 bridges in her district.

Pennsylvania is ranked worst in structurally deficient bridges nationwide, and home to the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9). Pennsylvania contains 18 of the 50 worst districts by percentage deficiency, and when broken down even further, 16 of the 30 worst.

The good news for Pennsylvanians and Americans nationwide is Chairman Shuster has been on the road this month to shed light on infrastructure issues within his state, highlighting the importance of Congress passing a long-term transportation bill this year.

In total, 62,000 of the 596,000 or, one in nine bridges, in this country are structurally deficient. Look at the data, it’s telling us we need a long term plan to fix the structurally deficient bridges of today. We need that plan now.