One in four bridges in the National Bridge Inventory is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. According to the Department of Transportation, more than $65 billion could be invested immediately to repair, rebuild, or replace them.

My bill, H.R. 3999, the “The National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act of 2007,

The bill further requires the Federal Highway Administration to assign a risk-based priority to each structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridge on the Federal-aid highway system.

Finally, H.R. 3999 authorizes $2 billion above what is available under the current highway authorization for reconstruction of the 6,175 structurally deficient bridges on the National Highway System.

Three months ago, my home state of Minnesota experienced the tragic collapse of a bridge carrying a major Interstate highway through the center of the state’s largest city. The collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis on August 1 tragically demonstrated that many such facilities are being stretched to the limit of their design life and beyond. We need to make a commitment to invest in the maintenance and reconstruction of our nation’s infrastructure.

Rep. Oberstar is Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.