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Lack of funding leaves world’s roads in disrepair

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Kingseyi
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Lack of funding leaves world’s roads in disrepair

Post by Kingseyi on Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:11 pm

In an age of austerity and budget cutbacks, the
deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, has put
the spotlight clearly on the lack of public funding
for road networks across the globe, from France
and Germany, to the United States and beyond.
– Dilapidation everywhere –
A report by the World Economic Forum
published late last year found that, out of 137
countries, road quality was highest in the United
Arab Emirates, with Singapore in second place.
Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde
Fashola, assures of rehabilitation works
on Apapa-wharf roads soon
Switzerland came third. Among its
European partners, the Netherlands
followed in fifth place, France in seventh,
Germany 15th, Italy 45th and Belgium
46th.
In France, a recent government-commissioned
audit found that one out of every three bridges
is in need of repair.
In Belgium, around 80 bridges, viaducts and
tunnels have been placed under heightened
scrutiny due to their state of disrepair, according
to a De Standaard newspaper report.
In Germany, “it’s only a matter of time before a
similar catastrophe happens,” the head of the
DIW economic think-tank, Marcel Fratzcher, said
on national radio.
According to the Federal Highway Research
Institute, only one motorway bridge out of every
eight is classified as being in “good” or “very
good” condition.
One particular bridge across the Rhine at
Leverkusen in Germany’s industrial heartland
was closed to heavy goods vehicles in 2012.
The Swedish Transport Administration estimates
that some 850 bridges across the country need
to be reinforced by 2030 after heavier trucks
were allowed onto its roads.
In Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest member whose
infrastructure is notoriously dilapidated, Prime
Minister Boiko Borissov has called for the
renovation of all of the country’s bridges.
In the United Kingdom, public debate about the
state of the country’s roads tends to focus more
on potholes than on the condition of tunnels and
bridges.
The RAC Foundation however published a report
last year which found that more than 3,000
bridges were not fit to carry the heaviest
vehicles.
The US Transportation Department estimated
last year that more than two thirds of American
roads and nearly 143,000 bridges were in need
of urgent repair or improvement.
– Budget cutbacks –
In Spain, where motorways and fast roads are
relatively new, the Spanish Road Association
AEC expressed concern, particularly about the
state of the regional road networks, which has
deteriorated as a result of successive budget
cutbacks following the 2008 financial crisis.
In the wake of the collapse of the decades-old
Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, which killed 38
people, Italy’s hardline eurosceptic Interior
Minister Matteo Salvini accused the European
Union of prioritising balanced budgets over
safety, austerity over public need.
The European Commission hit back, insisting it
had always “encouraged” Italy to invest and take
advantage of the EU’s available structural funds.
Germany, which has a budget surplus, has
frequently been called on by the likes of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be “more
energetic” in its public investment.
In 2018, the government earmarked 3.9 billion
euros ($4.4 billion) in investment for roads and
bridges. The DIW think-tank calculates that
closer to 10 billion euros is needed.
– Future funding –
In France, the government-commissioned audit
recommends substantially boosting funds for the
maintenance and modernisation of national
roads, compared with the annual average of 666
million euros earmarked between 2007 and
2017.
French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said
in May she intended to spend one billion euros,
compared with 800 million euros in 2018 and
700 million euros in 2017.
In June, the Swedish government unveiled an
ambitious plan to invest 67 billion euros in
infrastructure by 2029.
The Spanish government has pledged to invest
five billion euros in the country’s roads over the
next four years.
US President Donald Trump has announced
plans to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure, but
no concrete details for the roll-out of such plans
have so far been forthcoming.


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    Current date/time is Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:49 pm