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US engineers rush infrastructure report to influence Obama stimulus plan

US engineers today rushed out the key findings of a major report on the state of America’s infrastructure two months early in an attempt to influence President Obama’s $825bn (£585bn) economic stimulus package.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published the conclusions of its latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure as Obama officials worked on the spending package.

The ASCE said the country’s ageing infrastructure is incapable of supporting a healthy economy.

“Crumbling infrastructure has a direct impact on our personal and economic health and the nation’s infrastructure crisis is endangering our future prosperity,” said ASCE president Wayne Klotz.

The ASCE said that current annual spending on roads must double if conditions are to substantially improve.

Despite the devotion of much attention to bridges following the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minnesota, the report says one in four viaducts are either “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete”.

The ASCE said a 66% increase in the £7.46bn bridges upgrade budget was needed.

America’s rail network also needs significant investment.

The ASCE said it needed £140bn spending on it until 2035. Obama hopes to win opposition Republican support for his new economic stimulus bill in time to sign it on 16 February.

This would guarantee an infrastructure spend of £86.8bn, making it the country’s biggest spending plan since President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.

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