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Unformatted text preview: component of our transportation network. But despite the emphasis
on our road system, we are not meeting the challenge. Congestion still predominates, especially in our metro areas, and the system has
serious safety challeng- es. For example, America currently has more than 69,000 structurally deficient bridges, more than
11% of all the bridges in our country.2 Meanwhile, underinvestment in airports, in commuter and freight rail, and in ports costs us jobs, economic
growth, and access to overseas markets. Compared to the signifi- cant sums dedicated to roads, government spending on
other modes of transportation is relatively meager. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) spends about $10.2 billion a
year on public transit, or less than a quarter of what it spends on highways. The federal government contributes even less to
Amtrak’s operation costs. In contrast to its highway funding programs, USDOT encourages greater state contribu- tions to transit projects.
Since the majority of states are constitutionally or statutorily prohibited from using state gas taxes for public transit projects, USDOT’s
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