The future of American infrastructure – 60 Minutes

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In its latest Infrastructure Bulletin, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded the United States a C- , citing its crumbling public roads, aging bridges and deteriorating water pipes.

The 2021 rating marked an improvement from 2017, when the ASCE rated US infrastructure at D+.

When the organization releases its next bulletin in 2025, the United States will be looking for meaningful improvement following the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law last November.

Much of the responsibility for implementing the new law falls under Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The 40-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana spoke with 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper for an article that airs this Sunday.

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Eric Kerchner/60 Minutes


During the wide-ranging interview, Buttigieg explained where the American people will see their tax dollars work first.

“I think one of the first things you’re going to notice is the acceleration of road and bridge work,” Buttigieg told Cooper. “It’s not just the famous big bridges in our biggest cities. It’s thousands of bridges across the country.”

Cooper’s interview with Buttigieg comes more than seven years after 60 Minutes last filed a major report on the collapse of infrastructure in the United States

“Our infrastructure is currently on life support,” former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told correspondent Steve Kroft in 2014. He served in that role during the first Obama administration.

In January 2022, Mr. Biden echoed LaHood’s sentiment calling the state of America’s infrastructure “breathtaking” when hours before a planned trip to Pittsburgh, a bridge in the city collapsed and injured ten people. This is not a new problem.

At the time of Kroft’s story, the federal government said there were nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges nationwide, including about 800 around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge in 2014.

Since the release of Kroft’s report, numerous projects have been launched to repair or replace ailing bridges around Steel City. The rehabilitation of the Seventh Street Bridge and Birmingham Bridge was completed in 2017. Repairs to the Liberty Bridge, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, were completed in 2018.

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Portal North Bridge in New Jersey in 2014.

The report also highlighted the Portal North Bridge in New Jersey. Before the pandemic, more than 450 commuter trains used the 112-year-old swing bridge every day. Considered a single point of failure, the bridge sometimes failed to snap back into place, causing significant delays in the northeast corridor. Later this year, construction is expected to begin building a fixed bridge over the Hackensack River with two new lanes.

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In 2008, a crumbling section of I-95 in Philadelphia needed emergency repairs and forced the freeway to close for three days.

In Philadelphia, Kroft reported that a busy section of I-95 needed repairs. These improvements are now underway and are expected to continue until at least 2028.

The unmistakable orange construction signs along I-95 will soon appear on roads around the United States Philadelphia’s I-95 corridor is only a small portion of the 43% of U.S. roads that, according to the 2021 report of the American Society of Civil Engineers, must be corrected.

How will Secretary Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation determine which repairs take priority? See you on Sunday on 60 Minutes.


America’s crumbling infrastructure | 60 minute archive

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60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7/6 CT on CBS.

The above story was produced by James Jacoby, Michael Karzis and Maria Gavrilovic.

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