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The Planet

Patch Me If You Can

Nominate your local pothole and
tell Congress to fix it first

In its latest report on America’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our roads a “D” grade and our bridges a “C.” It’s no wonder—one in four bridges nationwide and one in six miles of interstate need repair. Meanwhile, says the Sierra Club’s Eric Olson, Congress is about to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on expensive pork projects we don’t need instead of fixing all these roads and bridges that aren’t getting the attention they need.

Exhibit A is a “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska being promoted by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska), who chairs the House Transportation Committee. The proposed mile-long Gravina Island Bridge connecting Ketchikan, with a population of 7,800, to an island of 50 residents, would be 20 feet shorter than the Golden Gate Bridge and 80 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge. Yet, there’s a ferry service that serves the island and runs about every 10 minutes. The House of Representatives has already earmarked $223 million for this $315 million project. Young is also pushing for $200 million for the proposed Knik Arm Bridge, which would connect Anchorage to land that almost no one lives on, and eventually cost an astounding $2.3 billion.

What this calls for is...a contest: So get off your asphalt and enter the Sierra Club’s “Patch Me If You Can” contest—a search to find and fix the worst roads and bridges in the country and draw attention to Congress’ misplaced priorities. Go to sierraclub.org/patchme and submit your local pothole via our easy online form. We encourage photos. We'll pick the worst of the worst, says Olson, and then tell Congress to fix them first!

All of those rocky roads and rickety bridges create major safety problems for American families and commuters. According to the Federal Highway Administration, outdated and substandard road and bridge design, pavement conditions, and safety features are factors in 30 percent of all fatal highway accidents. Driving on roads in need of repair costs U.S. motorists $54 billion per year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs—that’s $275 per motorist.

Take Action: The House of Representatives and Senate have each passed pork-laden transportation bills, but there’s still time to make a difference as the two bodies iron out any differences before sending the final product to the White House. Go to sierraclub.org/action/fixitfirst to tell your senators to allocate the money from those pork projects to repair America's most dangerous roads and bridges.


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